THE GOOD LOVELIES Under The Mistletoe (independent) Rating:.

THE GOOD LOVELIES Under The Mistletoe (independent) Rating: NNN

On their debut seasonal album, sassy local bluegrass trio the Good Lovelies – Sue Passmore, Kerri Ough and Caroline Brooks – interpret traditional Christmas tunes as nuanced bluegrass, syrupy polished pop and loungey smooth jazz. Tying it all together are complex three-part harmonies.

While we could do with less of the schmaltzy pop (Santa Baby, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Mele Kalikimaka) and smooth jazz (I’d Like You For Christmas), the bluegrassified takes on Silent Night and Blue Christmas are inventive and uplifting. The ladies also daringly add three originals to the Christmas canon, all of which are impeccably crafted and executed.

The low harmonies in Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree make for an odder, darker take (a good thing), while closer Auld Lang Syne manages to be both heart-rending and, eventually, foot-stomping.

Available for $16.99 at Sunrise Records, 336 Yonge and other locations. 416-595-5848. And Maple Music, maplemusic.com.

The Good Lovelies play Hugh’s Room on December 6.


WOODY GUTHRIE My Dusty Road (Rounder) Rating: NNNNN

All of you about to pop the Bob Dylan Christmas album in the old disc player, hold on. Dylan’s muse, Woody Guthrie, returns with posthumous comp My Dusty Road. The 54-track set (which includes six previously unreleased songs) may seem like a throwback at first glance, but it actually brings the folk icon into the future, thanks to the recent discovery of steel masters in a Brooklyn basement.

Divided thematically into Woody’s Greatest Hits, Woody’s Roots, Woody The Agitator and Woody, Cisco [Houston] And Sonny [Terry], the four-disc box invites the previously distant, muffled folk singer into the room with you. And its talk of recessions, depressions and union-crushing outsourcing makes this gift pack as much an inspiring call to action today as a window on the past.

Soundscapes (572 College, 416-537-1620) has stocked up, selling the box set for $89.99. And if you’re a stickler for authenticity, woodyguthrie.org has the set available on vinyl for a limited time.


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