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Artist Spotlight: Joel Rakes

[Update: The first volume does not seem to be available anymore, but the second and third volumes (as well as the fourth, which is new for 2009) can be found at Joel's Bandcamp page.]

Joel Rakes has started a rather cool annual tradition: each year since 2006, he has recorded an EP of 5 Christmas songs, which he releases one song at a time on his website in the few weeks before Christmas. The first two volumes of festive.mood.inducing.music can still be downloaded in their entirety, while the first three tracks from this year's volume are currently available, with the remaining songs to follow next Sunday and Christmas Day.

The first volume is very bare bones, with just vocals and acoustic guitar; it features a very nice rendition of "I Saw Three Ships", as well as a cover of Bebo Norman's "Mary's Prayer", which is a very touching and beautiful song. Volume 2 adds some more instruments to the mix, including the banjo that he is "more than obsessed with" (according to his bio page), and also a couple of original songs in "No Mo' Ho Ho Ho" and "Lost Christmas". Joel's sound continues to evolve on the three songs released so far this year, and I am really looking forward to hearing the remaining two songs, which haven't even been named yet.

The wide range of moods and styles captured in this growing collection of songs makes it a worthy addition to any Christmas music lover's collection. I think you may also agree with me in hoping that this annual tradition will last for many years to come. If you haven't done so already, go check it out, and happy listening!

http://christmassongs.joelrakes.com (no longer available)

1 comment:

Joel said...

Hey Jeff,
Thanks for the most excellent write up - I appreciate the kind words. Hope you're having a happy Christmas today! I just put up the 5th and final song today so check it out if you haven't yet.