2011: A Winter Gathering


2011: A Winter Gathering

Shauna Burns on Rockwired

Listen to an interview with Brian Lush at Rockwired.com! Hear the background of A Winter Gathering, behind-the-scenes of the recording and other chit chat. Thank you Brian!

Shauna Burns on CD Baby

~ A Winter Gathering is a Holiday Editor’s Pick at CD Baby! Other CD Baby Features include:
~ Editor’s Pick for Holiday
~ Editor’s Pick for Rock
~ Top Albums for Holiday
~ Favorite Christmas Albums 2011
~ Holiday Page
~ Celtic Rock Page
~ Discover Music Newsletter: November 2011, Iss 3

~ Listen on Christmas Radio.com
~ Enter for a free CD at Pop Entertainment.com!
~ The Shopping Duck Feature
~ Southwest Flair Music Feature and Blog Feature
~ Santa’s Net Music Feature

‘Imagine a wintry day during Christmas season. Inside a pub, locally or abroad, a Celtic pianist and vocalist regales locals and travelers alike with traditional soundscapes. In wander onlookers, seeking smiles, shelter from the snow and a warm drink. The music is so peaceful that listeners, stiffened from shivering in the outdoor elements, instantly relax and unwind. Soon, the warmth and smiles generated by the heartfelt performance literally chase away the damp and cold. This scene is created to perfection in Shauna Burns’ latest offering, ‘A Winter Gathering’, an album that works just as well on a wintertime romantic evening for two or a family Christmas gathering. Shauna eclectically melds the worlds of traditional holiday standards, a few originals and a Celtic theme into a perfectly organic and lovely crafted amalgamation of both art and folk music.’Michael Canter from JiveWired

‘Shauna Burns’ ‘A Winter Gathering’ resembles nothing so much as a mid-December snowfall. Throughout the album, each note from her piano hangs in mid-air for a moment, glimmering in moonlight, before falling comfortably to become a part of winter’s veil. The album serves equally well as the telling of the Christmas Story–from the appearance of the ‘Winter Star’ to the birth of the Christ child and the rejoicing which followed. ‘A Winter Gathering’ should have broad appeal and I’d recommend it unreservedly to fans of sounds as diverse as George Winston, Tori Amos, Pentangle, Sarah McLachlan, and Enya. While you’ll hear hints of these and assorted other artists and styles, Shauna has a sound and style that is all her own. For ‘A Winter Gathering’, Shauna steeped herself in the ancient carols with the intention of breathing fresh life into them.’Stubby’s House of Christmas

‘Artists who choose to do a Christmas album really have to bring something a little different to the table to make it worthwhile for the listener. Burns’ brooding style on A Winter Gathering delivers just that with refreshingly intense treatments of some well-known tunes. If you want to get the difference between her settings and the usual fluff, turn straight to the one non-Christmas song on the album and you’ll hear it immediately. ‘What A Wonderful World’ becomes richly ironic under her fingers. Her singing and the words are hopeful, but somehow the piano is full of doubt, as if it can’t quite buy into the pretty meaning of the words. ‘What A Wonderful World’ is just one example of the strong piano playing on this CD. The arrangements are tastefully restrained, yet powerful. There’s none of the excess of, say, The Transiberian Orchestra, yet the music never fails to convey the deep feelings that Burns is attempting to communicate. Her stunning rendition of “Carol of the Bells” is another great example of this style on piano as well as vocally, and all by itself it’s worth the price of the album. Not all of the music is gloomy, though. Track 5, ‘Luma,’ is simply beautiful. Here traditional ‘Celtic style’ ornamentation meets a Classical sensibility, and that’s just during the piano introduction. When she begins to sing ‘Luma,’ it becomes like a children’s choral anthem, as she adapts her voice to a pure, flute-like sound to fulfill the meaning of the song. I encourage you to not miss out on A Winter Gathering, because you’ve probably never heard a Christmas recording quite like it. Let the old songs become something new in your ears (as they have here for Burns), and enjoy!’Donny Harvey from MuzikReviews.com

‘After four albums Shauna Burns returns with her Celtic flavored Christmas album ‘A Winter Gathering’. Throughout her career she has been inspired by many cultures which you will be able to hear on her new collection of newfangled carols and original songs. She worked together with her husband, drummer James Clark, a five piece vocal choir and guest artists who play different instruments. By bringing unique new elements and sounds to her trademark style, she invited you to dig into herself to uncover a next musical adventure.’Music Remedy

‘For folks into the Christmas season this album presents some absolutely lovely music… Shauna Burns already has a warm and loyal following and A Winter Gathering will no doubt please her fans and bring in legions more. These intricate Celtic-inspired songs are heartfelt and produced to perfection. And at the center of the tunes is Shauna’s cool subtle voice… a voice so pure it almost gives you chills. So if you’re into the holiday season and want to hear an album presenting the holiday spirit from a different perspective, Gathering will no doubt be your soundtrack for the 2011 season. Twelve cuts here including ‘Winter Star,’ ‘The First Noel,’ ‘What A Wonderful World,’ and ‘Carol of the Bells.’Baby Sue

‘Like her 2008 effort, ‘The Moon and the Fire Circle,’ Burns takes listeners on an almost mystical journey, complete with atmospheric Celtic influences that accentuate several traditional holiday favorites. From the piano driven ‘Carol of the Bells’ to the fast paced and lyrically different ‘The First Noel,’ Burns makes the standards sound fresh and alive. One of the strongest selections, ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,’ features a unique and interesting vocalization that reminded me of singer Kate Bush. Shauna Burns possesses a vocal talent that exhibits a gentle strength, which is appropriate for the traditional holiday offerings highlighted on ‘A Winter Gathering.’ While the arrangement for ‘White Christmas’ is not necessarily different from what I am used to hearing, Burns delivers an exceptional vocal performance and the selection is my favorite of the dozen songs included here. ‘A Winter Gathering’ concludes with instrumental versions of ‘Carol of Bells’ and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,’ which allows listeners to ease out of the journey that they have just experienced on this solid, atmospheric effort.’Don, PopCultureGuy

‘This is the perfect CD to listen to during the upcoming holiday season. The instrumentals were very calming and soothing. Shauna’s voice was pitch perfect and fit nicely to the theme of the cd. My favorite songs were “Luma” and “The Gathering” because of all the emotion and feelings Shauna puts into the lyrics and the instrumentals… I am planning on playing this CD at my Christmas Party and I know it will bring a lot of holiday cheer to everyone. The CD is more on the traditional side, but I can’t get enough of Shauna’s voice and the relaxing instrumentals. The harp and piano really set the mood for the whole CD.’Paul Arca, Shakefire

”A Winter Gathering’ is a nearly flawless, beautiful listening experience. Ms. Burns performances on vocal and piano define the mood from the opening ‘Winter Star’ through the album’s closing piece, an instrumental version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’. She is joined by musicians on percussion, Celtic Harp, Cello, and even Penny Whistle and Uilleann Pipes. Together, the cast of artists complete the vision of a mystical, magical Winter’s night. What is most striking is the song selection and sequencing. Ms. Burns’ songs form a journey through a night, following a star. In her hands, ‘White Christmas’ becomes not a reminiscence but a hope for the future. ‘What a Wonderful World’ is a capstone message of joy following ‘The Gathering’. Perhaps a gathering at a stable some 2000 years ago? These songs take on new meaning in this setting, different than their traditional secular place in the world of Christmas music. ‘Silent Night’, one of the most challenging songs for an artist to capture and make their own, is another highlight. Ms. Burns performance is one of ethereal beauty, and truly striking. Preceding and paired with ‘The First Noel’, these songs provide a climax to the album, followed by the four-song denouement to bring the record to a close. I have to give a nod to the production. Shauna Burns and James Clark, with Sean O’Dwyer, have given us a gem for the Christmas season. Without the vision and drive of the producers, an artist’s work will not reach its potential. Not the case here – kudos to the producers. I highly recommend ‘A Winter Gathering’. Once your Christmas tree is up, turn off the house lights and let the Christmas tree lights softly illuminate the room, queue up this abum, and enjoy it in the quiet solitude of a Christmas evening. For me, that describes the time and place for this amazing record.’Merry and Bright!

‘From start to A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns does exactly what it’s supposed to – put you in a festive mood for Christmas. It’s strong suit – how well Burns makes this Christmas classic her own via a truly brilliant musical interpretation of the songs. This is not a cheesy Christmas compilation that was cut and pasted together for the sake of Karaoke. It clearly goes beyond that. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalogue. All pieces are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove and musical personality to call its own. The playing abilities of everyone involved is rock solid. Last but not least the vocal presence and impressive piano playing virtuoso of Shauna Burns just makes the whole thing work. She is an artist that clearly possess talent, but above all she knows how to play the piano, sing you a song, and occupy a very special place in your heart each and every Christmas. ‘Indie Music Digest

‘Burns ethereal vocal delivery and perfect blend of the piano in sweeping movements seguing into quiet passages both inspire warmth and wonder. With tasteful percussion and drums, in addition to the other instruments that set the ‘feel’ of a welcome refuge from the storm, make this a fresh, yet old fashioned Christmas album. Give it a listen. A Winter Gathering with friends, family and neighbors is what the season should be all about.’Robert Carraher from The Dirty Lowdown

‘I have reviewed a lot of holiday music over the last few years. From rock influenced songs to jazz and pop tinted songs, a lot of artists put their own spin on the classic tunes. But I never expected an album of holiday music from Shauna Burns. Her music is more of an earthy, expansive ethereal style. I’ve reviewed a couple of things from Shauna and found her music unique. That is why I was a bit surprised at her recording an album of Christmas / winter holiday songs… Shauna begins the album with an interlude that is typical of her style. Slightly heavenly and lilting, the title of the interlude is Winter Star. From there Shauna gives her own folk tint to the classic holiday song, Carol Of The Bells. The piano fits well as Shauna is a great pianist. The cello and the backing vocals bring a cool sound to the song. Parts of the song have an aching, heart rending tone. Breathy and gentle, Shauna does a good job with White Christmas… The song that I probably liked most was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Shauna’s vocals reminded me of Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night… I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at Shauna Burns recording a winter holiday album. After all, we supposedly celebrate the birth of Christ to coincide with the winter solstice. The pairing of traditional holiday songs and Shauna’s unique style makes this an album well worth listening to.’Bruce Von Stiers

‘An other-worldly Celtic feel with Burns on piano and vocals, emanates the softness of falling snow and the celebration of a quiet, peaceful winter holiday. Reaching and moving. Evokes a spiritual listening experience, probing and hypnotic. An extraordinary way to enjoy the musical pleasures of the holiday season.Southwest Flair Music Feature and Blog Feature

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