What is up with me? Why am I writing about covers of traditional hymns? Is it because people are actually DOING something cool with them? The question is the answer, duh. Portland’s Hannah Glavor has transformed “O Little Town of Bethlehem” into something that I genuinely enjoy. It has the warm feel of a Midlake record, as I caught myself thinking a whole lot about “Roscoe” (one of my all-time favorite songs). She has fleshed out and modernized a nice handful of tracks here – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Away in a Manger,” and even “Silent Night” feels like something completely brand new. She takes bits and pieces of the original melody, then adds in all these other lines that your brain is just not ready for. This thing is a workout for your old noodle. There is one modern-day Christmas song being covered here, Josh Garrels’ “May You Find a Light.” Of all the songs on here, this is the one that feels the most similar to the original. That may be because I’m so programmed to know those traditional carols, and not familiar with Josh’s song. Either way, it is a very lovely song. This is folk-pop Christmas at a very high level.
Bottom Line: Very surprising, solid EP that makes the classics seem new once again.