he music of choice today – yes, I'm actually just making a recommendation/advertisement – is Over The Rhine
's first Christmas album, a dark and moody effort now over ten years old entitled The Darkest Night of the Year
. Right now, this early morning, marks the moment of the Winter solstice, making this last night or tonight that "Darkest Night of the Year," at least in terms of sheer length. This album pairs nicely with their 2006 second Christmas release, Snow Angels
which is sultry and romantic, and more classically "Christmas," while both being more original in composition than most Christmas albums. (Don't let any traditional song titles fool you on that point.) The Darkest Night of the Year
is perhaps more of an "Advent album" in mood: darkly anticipatory, more Christmas Eve than Christmas Day, and that anticipation for the gift of redemption in Christ that we remember in Advent, well, that might hint at Christmas Eve being more elementally "the darkest night of the year." As with pretty much anything by Over The Rhine, it represents the very best in contemporary American songwriting, as far as I'm concerned. However, you take it, you owe yourself the deliciousness of this music.