Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid — Martin

There’s no season like Advent and Christmas that has inspired so much music. Glen Soderholm’s new Christmas CD is a fine collection, within the best of that tradition.

Most of the songs are not well-known standards. Some are Glen’s originals, and others come from fine Canadian Christian songwriters such as Tim Alberts (“Shine”), and Carolyn Arends (“Do Not Be Afraid”). You’ll also hear Glen’s version of “This Christmas” — the song he co-wrote with Jacob Moon, which Jacob recorded as the title track for his own Christmas CD in 2007.

One of my favourite cuts is “Song of The Magi” from American songstress Anais Mitchell. It includes both the traditional images of the wise men, plus a vision of present-day Bethlehem:
-----------“Welcome home my child
-----------your home is a checkpoint now
-----------your home is a border town
-----------welcome to the brawl
-----------life ain’t fair my child
-----------put your hands in the air my child
-----------slowly now single file now
-----------up against the wall...”

Of course Soderholm has recorded a few traditional carols — “Angels From the Realms of Glory”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”— though he alters the musical phrasing in places, or adds his own bridge to freshen up what could otherwise be considered too familiar. A less-known carol, “People Look East” is another interesting addition.

I think that for Glen this has been an on-again-off-again project, for he released two of the songs from Do Not Be Afraid on his excellent 2008 album This Bright Sadness. He probably should have either saved them for this release, or should have re-recorded them with a different arrangement for this CD. As much as I like them, I often click the skip button, since I listen to them regularly on the other album.

If you enjoy intelligent music — particularly acoustic-based songs, smoothly delivered — Glen Soderholm’s Do Not Be Afraid will make an ideal addition to your Advent, Nativity and Epiphany celebrations.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at:

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1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Don, thank you for bringing Glen's new seasonal album to my / our attention. I don't spend a lot of time auditing music. although music is a big part of my life. (I seldom use music for background when working at the computer, since it tends to divide my attention.)
Your thoughtful reviews are always insightful and helpful.

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