Posts tagged ‘Jason Sypher’

Am I Too Late for a Gift Suggestion?

The_GatheringIf you’re a fan of folk, bluegrass, or Appalachian music—and maybe even if you’re not—you might enjoy checking out a new holiday CD called The Gathering.

The project is the work of five musicians, including Mike Compton (known for his work with John Hartford and with the Nashville Bluegrass Band), Rhiannon Giddens (of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops), Joe Newberry, Jason Sypher, and a Penn Stater: Laurelyn Dossett ’84. You may remember we talked about Laurelyn Dossett a couple of years ago when her duo Polecat Creek appeared on the public radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

The Gathering, recorded this past August in a house in the woods of North Carolina, is a really interesting collection, including a couple of recognizable Christmas songs, some less well-known material, and six original songs written by Dossett. I just listened to a preview of the album on iTunes and heard everything from a Bill Monroe instrumental called “Old Ebenezer Scrooge” to “Christ was Born on Christmas Morn,” a jazzy piece dating to the vaudeville era, to an absolutely lovely version of “O Holy Night.”


Laurelyn Dossett ’84 (lower right) and the rest of the gang involved in "The Gathering."

It’s all done in a rootsy fashion, with plenty of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and close vocal harmonies.

The album is getting some very good reviews. gave it 4-1/2 stars, and the Wall Street Journal called it “a very special album.” My favorite was the one from the Chicago Sun-Times, which rated The Gathering higher than the new Christmas CD from Carole King (whose music I’ve loved since I was 14). The Sun-Times wrote about The Gathering:

“Come for the wintry warmth of Dossett’s family tale ‘Redbird,’ but by all means stay for the version of ‘O Holy Night’ sung by Gidden and backed only by upright bassist Jason Sypher. Superb.”

Tina Hay, editor


December 22, 2011 at 10:23 am 1 comment

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