Carroll Brown & Harry O’Donoghue

Nollaig: An Irish Christmas

(carroll brown music)

“Bright Blue Rose” from the album Nollaig
Audio File

Ah, the holidays. That special time of year when recording companies rush to the shelves with the umpteenth reissue of “Christmas favorites” and artists’ managers insist that a hastily thrown-together compilation of covers will do wonders for the last quarter bottom line: all these discs featuring all that stuff you can just as easily ignore at any shopping mall food court. Suppose, instead, that you’d like something seasonal and fresh to shuffle around on the iPod mix. Nollaig is a wonderful spin on tradition with enough hearty musical goodness to bring year-long listening pleasure. Enjoy Brown and O’Donoghue’s take on “Christmas Island” and a couple other familiar tunes, but get this CD to open Christmas morning — you’ll quickly make the acquaintance of some wonderful new songs for the festive time of year. (www.carrollbrownmusic.com) —Jon Santiago

Carroll Brown performs a “Celtic Christmas” show at Morgan Creek Grill on Thurs. Dec. 13.


Susie Summers

Second Hand Summers

(carroll brown music)

The best albums serve to remind you of that terrific concert you once attended. Studio recordings have to work hard to achieve that memorability live CDs have it built-in. Charleston’s own Susie Summers recorded this collection at Oceansong Café, just a year before it shuttered, making this new CD a double keepsake. Her voice is gutsy, her phrasing soulful, and the performances (accompanied on guitar and harmony vocals by Al Pugliese) capture both Susie’s and Oceansong’s special resonance. Only one Christmas wish: we’re hoping for a new CD of Susie’s original songs to complement this one in our collection. (www.truemusic.net) —Jon Santiago

Susie Summers conducts the Singer-Songwriter Night at Sunfire Grill & Bistro on Mondays.