During tours, we do our best to cover setlists in real-time on Twitter. If you want to tweet a show in, just DM or @ us on the day and tell us to watch your stream that night.
Tori will be touring in 2014 to support the release of Unrepentant Geraldines. The European legs runs from May through June and the North American legs spans July and August. We do not know if additional dates elsewhere will be added.
With the Southern hemisphere having just passed through the Winter Solstice, Midwinter Graces has received some attention in the southern reaches of the globe, even if the more overtly Christmas-oriented elements of the album are half a year away. This review appeared on South Africa’s Exclusive Books storefront on the Solstice itself and is a nice overview of the album.
Review: Tori Amos – Midwinter Graces
21 June 2010 | 12:30 PM | Graeme
Midwinter Graces is the first seasonal album of classic carols and original songs from Tori Amos.
Now, some might wonder why I’ve chosen to review what might be seen as a Christmas album in June. Simply, the album’s focused on the idea of celebrating the winter solstice, which in the Southern Hemisphere occurs around 21st June.
For thousands of years, human beings have celebrated the return of the sun at this time at the solstice. Admittedly, the largest numbers of these celebrations occurred in the northern hemisphere, and have continued in the form of Christmas and our New Year’s Eve, as the winter solstice there occurs around December 21st.
Never one to not have a unifying theme in her albums, Tori Amos has said that she wanted Midwinter Graces to as inclusive an album as possible, knowing that winter solstice-time is celebrated by many people in many different social contexts, whether it be religious or secular, and always with a focus on the return of the Light, and family, love, warmth and beauty.
Amos’ music is often associated with emotional blood-letting and sharp criticism of political and religious systems she sees as being repressive and life-denying. You won’t find that on this album. What you will find, however, is music as pure and beautiful as a winter’s night. There are traditional carols given a bit of a new sound through her mastery of the piano and her shimmering voice.
Star of Wonder gives a Persian influence to the well-known carol We Three Kings, updating it slightly to include a message of hope for humanity in times when intolerance seems to be the order of the day. The hauntingly beautiful Candle: Coventry Candle and the exquisite Holly, Ivy and Rose (think The Holly and the Ivy) both have something of a mediaeval sound to them, and both have a family element to them: Candle features guest vocals by Tori’s niece, and Holly features a response vocal by her daughter Natashya.
Emmanuel is Tori’s version of the Advent carol expressing the longing for the coming of the bright Dayspring who will pour on our souls his healing light.
Amos brings in the warmth of family and friends gathered together in the big-band tracks A Silent Night with You and Pink and Glitter, which is a reminder that the true gift of the season lies in relationship, not presents like ‘a grown up motor toy’. She also acknowledges the bittersweet moments that the darkness of winter brings in the song ‘Our New Year’.
The stark beauty of the world outdoors is not forgotten, as the winterscape features in songs like the gentle Snow Angel and the folkloric Winter’s Carol.
Musically, the sound ranges from lush brass and strings, to a piano as gentle and soft as snowfall, to a harpsichord whose sound I can describe only as “warm”. All in all, Midwinter Graces is a stunningly beautiful album, which has made a welcome change to Boney M’s Christmas carols, and has an inclusive element that seasonal music often lacks.
It is a little strange to be listening to carols in the middle of the year, but the beauty of this album has helped open me up to an idea that transcends any one spiritual path. In the bleak days and cold nights of a Johannesburg winter, a reminder of the return of light and warmth is welcomed, and as my friends and I gather to celebrate Yuletide, I can think of no better musical accompaniment.
Living in the Southern Hemisphere means that this isn’t an album I’ll listen to on one day of the year. Midwinter Graces has become a sonic friend during winter, and I know that it will bring something special when my family and I gather around the manger at Christmas time, too. If you would like to appreciate the cold months in a new way, adding Tori Amos’ Midwinter Graces to your music collection is definitely one way to do it.