Friday, December 10, 2021

New Music: "A New Noel" from Kimberly Hawkey and Morris & Rivers

Gee whiz fellas - this album is aces!

A New Noel stands out as one of the best and most original Christmas albums of 2021.  Morris and Rivers (Lecco Morris and Justin K. Rivers) are a songwriting team from Schenectady, NY.  And gang, the eleven songs on A New Noel are exactly what you would imagine from a songwriting team from Schenectady, NY.  Listening through, I was transported back in time to another era.  From their bio, they "take vintage pop and jazz vibes to new modern heights".  Do they wear straw hats and checkered vests while banging out a new song on the piano and writing out the lyrics in pencil?  Maybe so!  All I know for sure is that they are a mighty talented team with a great sense of melody and completeness of a musical idea.

The vocal star of A New Noel is Kimberly Hawkey.  Kimberly's voice paired with Morris and Rivers' songs is a match made in heaven.  There's a Broadway style there, with jazzy edges, and a pureness of pitch and phrasing.  And she can add a little playfulness in there too, especially in one of my favorites from the album "Slushy Mushy Christmas".  Kimberly has received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, has been a Gold Medalist at the American Traditions Vocal Competition, and with her band the Swingaroos (note to self - gotta check out the Swingaroos) she has played in the finest jazz clubs in NYC, including Birdland and the Iridium.

My favorite cuts on album are the aforementioned romp in the snow "Slushy Mushy Christmas"; the title track "A New Noel", a show-stopping number that highlights Kimberly Hawkey's vocal range and strength; "Grandpa's Chair", featuring guest vocalist Adam Pascal (Rent; Aida); and "Shopping Mall Santa", humorous, sassy, and jazzy, with the whole band getting into the spirit.

Kimberly Hawkey

A New Noel is not your standard, sleighbells jinglin' Christmas music experience, but it's fresh, it's original, it's feel-good, and it's one of the finest albums this year.  If there's ever a Christmas-themed version of Schmigadoon!, Morris and Rivers should write the songs :-)

Buy A New Noel on Amazon

Kimberly Hawkey website

Morris and Rivers on Facebook

Morris and Rivers

Listen to A New Noel on Spotify

No comments:

Post a Comment