Silver Smoke, Star of Night - Review
The name of Jill Tracy
is not normally something you would associated with Christmas music, but here we have this album with all of it's bleak style that only she can do.
Normally associated with more of the dark cabaret styles, well-known in the San Francisco bay area, and for her tracks that have appeared and various TV and film, this album comes something as a welcome surprise to our scene. Released in a nice, but simple bi-fold digi-packa nd featuring 8 bleak holiday carols.
The story of the coming of this album is interesting and lends itself well to the overall feel of the music. I recommend jumping over to Projekt's
website and reading up a little after the listener finishes here, and even better, after you've picked up the album and are listening to it. What comes about on this album is a bleak, somewhat dark, yet hopeful sound through the timeless lyrics of the classics we all know. Nested between "We 3 Kings" and the beautiful piano of "Carol of the Bells", this dark haunting original song, "Room 19" definitely stands out from the others with it's dark, haunting air, which appropriately enough portray the moods and story of the song perfectly.
As with many albums of this kind, we have unique interpretations from this artist, bringing her own unique voice and styles from the San Francisco underground to the yuletide cheer of the holiday season. Interpreting a classic Christmas carol is quite an adventures with a piece such as "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" with a nearly nine-minute, heavy, dark and brooding piano-laiden piece, featuring somberly soaring violin and those dark, alto vocals. This seems to be the most haunting of the classics, yet even the joyful tune "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" turns into a brooding, yet beautiful piano-driven selection. "Coventry Carol" and "What Child Is This" are somewhat dark and moody to begin with, so when you apply the somewhat mystical and haunting ambiance of Jill's vocals over soft, bleak piano, it really becomes a moving style and sound. Interestingly enough, "In The Bleak Midwinter" is about the least bleak of all the pieces on this album. This creates a nice finale to the album, presenting in it's entirety the foundation of it all, with this being a piano solo piece, we see how it can carry not only just this unique piece, but become the anchor for the entire album.
This is definitely an alternative to the pop and classic versions of these songs, so fans of the darker and neo-cabaret sound can really enjoy this. But even for those just wanting to enjoy something a little different, maybe a little more haunting, or even just fans of great piano music with various subtle additions such as violin and of course Jill's vocals, this is a definite treat and must-have for fans to add to their holiday collection.
Label: Projekt Records