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C h r i s t i n e... L a v i n


Christine Lavin & the Mistletones
The Runaway Christmas Tree



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track listing

1. A Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Solstice/ Chanukah/ Ramadan/ Boxing Day Song itunesbuy
2. Snow! Medley itunesbuy
3. The Runaway Christmas Tree itunesbuy
4. Dona Nobis Pacem itunesbuy
5. Lamb and Lion itunesbuy
6. The All Purpose Carol itunesbuy
7. Elves itunesbuy
8. Scalloped Potatoes itunesbuy
9. Polkadot Pancakes itunesbuy
10. Tacobel Canon itunesbuy
11. A New Year’s Round itunesbuy
12. Th 12 Dys f Chrstms itunesbuy
13. Allelujah / Amen itunesbuy
14. Good Night to You All itunesbuy


Do you ever want to hear those dogs barking “Jingle Bells” again? Neither does Christine Lavin – this “comic observer of contemporary manners” (The New York Times) says she “just couldn’t find a good Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Solstice/ Chanukah / Ramadan/ Boxing Day album, so I had to make one.” She rounded up seven other vocalists, assembled a sackful of characteristically humorous, offbeat, and occasionally moving seasonal songs, added a couple of original stories, and created this lighthearted a cappella alternative to the usual cloying Christmas-season songbook, a fresh delight for children and adults alike.

On The Runaway Christmas Tree, there are tales of Christmas miracles gone wrong (in “Polkadot Pancakes”), what sound like munchkins on helium (“Elves”), and choral complaints and celebrations regarding food (“Scalloped Potatoes” and “Tacobel Canon,” respectively). The title track, with its echoes of Dr. Seuss, is a bedtime story Lavin wrote for her niece to explain why people decorate their Christmas trees (to weigh them down so they can’t escape, of course!). Interspersed with these unorthodox holiday excursions are a handful of somewhat more conventional hymns to the peace and joy the end of the year represents – the lovely “Dona Nobis Pacem,” “A New Year’s Round,” “Lamb and Lion,” “Allelujah/Amen,” “Good Night to You All” and the very slightly twisted “A Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Solstice/ Chanukah/ Ramadan/ Boxing Day Song” and “The All Purpose Carol” (which ends with a resounding “Oy, mon!”). For quasi-traditionalists, Christine includes an express-lane version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” (retitled “Th 12 Dys f Chrstms”) in which she sings only half the numbers in the count-up (“I do that to spare the parents…That song can get quite monotonous”) but all of the numbers in the countdown (“or that would be too weird”).

Lavin was inspired to record this all-vocal CD by the techniques of New York’s Sol “Roundman” Weber, who she calls “THE master of vocal ‘rounds’.” His work ties in with Christine’s on-stage use of a Boomerang digital phrase sampler that creates vocal loops, harmonies and other effects. The ability to multiply voices electronically or by adding additional voices made Lavin “eager to sing songs that employ many vocal parts.”

With her previously unrecorded story-in-verse “The Runaway Christmas Tree” already a popular staple of Lavin’s winter holiday concerts and her discovery of Weber’s repertoire and work in arranging the singing of overlapping “rounds,” Lavin wrote a second story (the be-careful-what-you-wish-for “Polkadot Pancakes”), gathered a few additional songs and corralled an eclectic bunch of singers to join her in the recording studio. Her fellow vocalists, dubbed The Mistletones, include Julie Gold (best known as composer of the recent standard “From a Distance”), Ervin Drake (who wrote the classic “Good Morning Heartache,” “It Was a Very Good Year,” and “I Believe”), actor/director/singer David Lutken (a veteran of Broadway and Off-Broadway who has appeared in “The Civil War,” “The Will Rogers Follies” and “Woody Guthrie’s American Song,” among others), popular New York-based R&B/gospel singer Gregory Clark, artist/vocalist Andrea Vuocolo, and, from The Accidentals, the eight-voice harmony group that won last year’s National A Cappella Competition in San Francisco, Margaret Dorn and Emily Bindinger (the latter produced The Runaway Christmas Tree).
According to Lavin, the songs on her new CD “are arranged in such a way that after hearing them a few times, you will understand how they are constructed AND THEN realize that YOU can sing these songs. . . . We have an album where you can learn these songs just by listening to them over and over, even if you have never sung before, can’t play an instrument, can’t read music – hey, you don’t even have to be able to read AT ALL. Just listen. . . . I envision this as a disc parents can play for their children at bedtime, or play in the car while driving to Grandma’s house….You can’t help but start singing along, so I guess you might consider this a sneaky subliminal singalong holiday album for all ages, all persuasions. Try NOT to sing along. That’s the hard part.”


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