If you like to honor the traditions of old during your holiday season while simultaneously looking ahead into a bright future, then there’s a place in your heart for Rowan : Morrison’s chilly Fields of Frost.
That’s right, Angeline Morrison and Stephen Stannard (whom you may recognize from our frequent coverage of Meadowsilver and The Rowan Amber Mill) have joined forces once again to give us a record that is as full of light, cold and mirth as the holidays themselves.
With ancient carols and psychedelic-tinged originals, Morrison and Stannard remind you that while the winter may be the harshest time of year, it is indeed necessary to bring forth a fruitful spring (which is something to remember when the news seems to be at its bleakest). Their crisp mixture of joyful and somber sounds suggests both the hope that lies under the ice and also the beauty that can still be found in the dark days and frigid nights.
A personal favorite on this gorgeous collection is the duo’s adaptation of the classic “Lyke Wake Dirge.” The traditional Yorkshire folk song details the soul’s perilous voyage to purgatory shortly after death. Through the use of stacked vocal overdubs, autoharp and a shruti box, RM absolutely nails the tune’s eerie ritualistic atmosphere and brings its nightmarish details to creeping life. Elsewhere on the album, you’ll find a starker a cappella version of the song that will surely chill you to the marrow.
This is an album that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys spinning The Iditarod’s Yuletide or Sharron Kraus’ Winter Songs/Caneuon y Gaeaf every December–or anybody who may have forgotten that the darkness in life never last too long.
You can preorder Fields of Frost ahead of it’s New Year’s Eve release date here.