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Artist Spotlight: Dolores Dagenais

[Update: The music linked to in this post is no longer available.]

For me, one of the biggest benefits of this whole Free Christmas Music project has been the opportunity to discover artists that I probably never would have discovered otherwise. Many of those artists come from genres that I don't normally listen to; thanks to the ability of Christmas music to transcend all notions of genre, it is easy to find myself in previously unexplored musical territory. One such genre is folk music, and I am happy to say that I have found a couple of really great folk artists who have been generous enough to make their Christmas albums freely available for people to enjoy. I'll be doing this post in two parts, featuring one artist today and the other whenever I get the second part written, hopefully tomorrow.

Today I want to feature Dolores Dagenais, a singer/songwriter from Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dolores has made her Words of Warmth album available for free download from her website. The album features eight songs, seven of which are traditional Christmas carols; the final song, "Empty Pocket", is an original song that was written in 2000 after she "witnessed the body of a homeless man being picked up off the sidewalk one cold January day." This song is absolutely beautiful and features some very moving lyrics. Another highlight of the album is "Away in a Manger", which is done completely a capella and features some stunning vocal harmonies. In fact, many of the songs on Words of Warmth feature very distinctive vocal harmonies which are an absolute joy to listen to.

Words of Warmth will only be available on the website until January 2008, at which time it will be taken down to make room for more new music, so you should head on over there now if you want to check it out.

Dolores has also added another original Christmas song to her website. "Fragile Light" takes a look at the true meaning of Christmas, and, like "Empty Pocket", is a very moving song. "Fragile Light" has been given its own page on the website, complete with artwork and lyrics.

Part two of my exploration of folk Christmas music will be up soon. In the meantime, though, please head on over to Dolores Dagenais's website so you can hear her beautiful music for yourself.

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