Folk fans who may already have a shelf or two full of Christmas CDs may be wondering whether they need another album of songs and carols like I Saw Three Ships, The Holly And The Ivy and O Come All Ye Faithful. However, Gareth Davies Jones’ new melodies and inventive arrangements, not to mention his captivating voice and nimble-fingered musicianship, definitely breathe new life into familiar songs we know so well.
A native of County Down, now ensconsed firmly in his adopted Northumberland homeland, Davies-Jones has been a figure on the UK and Ireland music scene for some fifteen years now. Comprising ten songs, his latest release The Darkest Midnight In December features a number of reworking of traditional carols and historic poems set to music composed by Davies-Jones himself, together with one newly-composed song and an arrangement of I Wonder As I Wander by John Jacob Niles.
Davies-Jones’ own composition Advent, inspired by the writings of Frederick Buechner and with beautiful piano accompaniment, provides a poignant opening to the album as does the title track which closes the album, again featuring Davies-Jones and his piano. Elsewhere on the album, such as on an inventive and captivating interpretation of O Come All Ye Faithful, we get to hear Davies-Jones’ lovely acoustic guitar-playing.
An unashamedly Christian Christmas release, The Darkest Midnight In December is clearly an album that has special meaning to Davies-Jones. “I am constantly inspired by the many different ways that all round the world, the Christmas story is drawn down into the local tradition. Its message of new birth, hope and reconciliation understood by setting it against the backdrop of our everyday, our landscape, our seasons, our weather," Davies-Jones reveals.
Vocals that convey richness and warmth, a gift for storytelling through song and a sincere belief in seeking inspiration and meaning from the Christmas message, Gareth Davies-Jones stands out as a natural for creating an album like this, however crowded the field of seasonal releases for the folk fan.Darren Johnson
Released on 1st December 2018 by Heading West Music
2. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
3. I Wonder as I Wander
4. Best Wishes For The Season
5. Ring Out Wild Bells
6. I Saw Three Ships
7. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
8. The Holly and the Ivy
9. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
10. The Darkest Midnight in December