With 2010 marking the 30th anniversary of Frank Mill's phenomenally successful single 'Music Box Dancer', Rita approached Frank with the idea of a seasonal tour and album, and Frank, happily in semi-retirement, was surprised by the call but after careful consideration decided to take to the stage and studio one more time! 'The Spirit Of Christmas' brings together four brand new Rita & Frank recordings, and also presents 8 of each of these Canadian legends biggest and best known seasonal favourites, giving friends and fans the definitive seasonal release, that will surely become a perennial favourite for years to come!
Here on one CD, Rita MacNeil and Frank Mills truly capture the musical essence of the season, ‘The Spirit of Christmas’. Enjoy – even beyond the Christmas presents!
With the release of Late December Rita MacNeil brings back the warmth and innocence of the Christmas season. The recording is a departure for the award-winning artist who chose to go with a more natural, organic sound. The majority of the album was in fact put to tape in Rita’s living room! Musicians and background singers gathered in the heat of summer, recording what is essentially a live album. The result is a CD featuring 9 original and one classic song that expertly capture the sentiments and tradition of Rita’s favourite time of the year. Writing new Christmas classics can be a daunting task but for the Cape Breton songstress it was a labour of love. Surrounded by her youthful memories it was easy to recall the emotions that define the season. From the country tinged title track of missing loved ones who have come and gone to the bells that ring on Christmas morning in “As Seasons Come” Late December is a charming collection of personal reflections. “For Mary, For Joseph” is a lovely ballad that evokes the beauty of winter with the snow laden evergreen branches, nights that linger forever and candles that burn brightly in frosted windows. “All Around the World Tonight” reminds us that our wish for peace, hope and a safe place to raise our children is a sentiment shared by families ‘around the world’. In “Making Merry”, Rita picks up the musical style reminiscent of the 50’s while in “Especially for Christmas” she laments that families can’t always be together over the holidays. The rhythmic sound of “Hope Deliverer” segues beautifully into the gentle lilt of “Ring The Bells”. “Late December” brings the internationally renowned songwriter’s generosity, warmth and inspiration for the season to life. The Christmas spirit is alive on every track ….a treasured memory for years to come.
This CD is actually Rita's first two Christmas recordings, 'Now The Bells Ring' (1988) and 'Once Upon A Christmas' (1993) combined and remastered, with the added bonus of two additional tracks ('The Carollers' and 'Joyful Sounds'). One of her most popular releases.