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From Joy the Holy Branches Start

A quick shout out for people who discovered Loreena McKennitt in the past ten years or so. Her first three albums have been re-mastered, and released in a set with a bonus CD.

Now I have to admit when I first heard the albums when they were released in the 80s, I thought, you know, this is lovely music and singing, but I don't properly hear what the lyrics are. It's like she's intentionally being "artistic" in her enunciation and making it difficult to follow. Or maybe it's because my stereo is cheap and kind of tinny. I was wrong. It's just that her studio back then did a poor job of mixing. (Not that they could help it, mind. Starving artist and poor equipment.)

These new releases finally do justice to her early work, which is quite different from after she became famous and had so many talented people to draw into her albums. Not that I dislike her later work and its atmospherics, but her early stuff has that spartan, Vermeer-like quality that only real talent and effort can achieve.

And it's only $30. Get ye hence to Quinlan Road (the picture is linked).