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November 29, 2020
 

Ho-Ho-Ho, Who Wouldn’t Go?

Ivy Ford: Her immersion in the material makes this EP extra-special… (Photo: Sweet Music Chica & Eric Kriesant)

 

By David McGee

 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2020

Ivy Ford

www.ivyfordmusic.com

(FREE DOWNLOAD)

 

Ivy Ford is closing out a bountiful year for her with a Christmas EP available as a free download from her website, www.ivyfordmusic.com. Much like her acclaimed 2020 album, Club 27, Ms. Ford’s immersion in the material, even if, in this case, she didn’t write it, makes this EP extra-special.

Opening with a sultry, low-key reading of “Santa Baby,” Ms. Ford accompanies herself on piano and delivers a gentle swaggering vocal in making the tune her own. A tender mood attends the arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” with Ms. Ford carefully probing the lyrics with a poignant, bittersweet blend of optimism and melancholy, enhanced by the church quality of her piano playing. The hints of gospel she’s dropped into these two songs flower fully in “Silent Night,” a song born in a church and taken right back to it here in a double-tracked vocal backed by a country church piano and tambourine in the EP’s most rousing, gospel-centric moment. “O Holy Night” keeps her in the church, but with reverence and wonder suffusing her reading of the powerful lyrics. Ms. Ford’s nuanced phrasing is impeccably tailored to the tunes’ explicit and implicit messages, sometimes in the same song, as she demonstrates with her emotion-laden, touching reading of “Silent Night,” the moment here that seems to speak most deeply to the artist’s spirit. Appropriately, she closes the EP with a spirited, lighthearted take on “Suzy Snowflake,” backing her coquettish vocal with her softly strummed electric guitar and injecting a cool little solo about halfway through to further lighten the mood. Hence the perfect capper to one of the more memorable holiday offerings in recent years. Slight it may be, but no less potent than a full album’s worth of seasonal fare.