December 2005

December 20 & 21, 2005Hugh's RoomToronto
Caroling with Quartette
by Stanley Fefferman
The stalwart ladies of Quartette, at Hugh’s Room for the second time this year, brought an offering of songs from their famous Christmas albums 1 and 2. I don’t know why they like to space themselves on stage like lampposts along the lakeshore, or why they seldom move or smile, but sing they can, chiming out the most amazingly satisfying harmonies.
Being all singer-songwriters, their compositions are finely crafted—for example, Sylvia Tyson’s “The Angels Wept.” Many of the songs share a signature Quartette blend of folk, bluegrass, country-swing and gospel tones. Some are custom written to order like Caitlin Hanford’s jazzy, romantic “Now It’s Christmas.” “Hush Baby Jesus” honours the memory of Quartette founding member, the late Colleen Peterson.

Chief among the particular joys of this performance were Sylvia’s harmonic contribution of vocal organ bass tones, and some lead guitar work by Wendell Ferguson that was artful, apt, and deliciously funny.

If you are of a mind to write a Christmas song of your own, the main ingredients of the Quartette easy recipe are: the Weather, the Christmas Story, and Presents.

Quartette is Sylvia Tyson, Caitlin Hanford, Cindy Church and Gwen Swick. And one more thing. They do smile and move their hands, sometimes.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Stanley Fefferman
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