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Thursday, December 13, 2018

In the air there's a feeling of Villages

Celebrate the holidays with the folk foursome.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge PHIL MACISAAC
  • Phil MacIsaac

“A lot of people love it, and we love it for sure,” says VillagesMatt Ellis, of a little holiday called Christmas. “It’s a vibe around this feeling, and what creates that feeling is the music. Aside from the music it’s celebrating and gathering.”

Ellis and the rest of the Villages—his brother Travis, Jon Pearo and Archie Rankin—hail from Cape Breton, so they know from gathering. And that’s one of the reasons they’re hosting A Very Merry Villages Christmas tonight at the Carleton.

“It’s an extended set of what we’ve been playing lately,” says Ellis. “There’ll be some of our new record that’s coming out in 2019, sprinkled in with some of our own [holiday] takes, some of the classics and some that might not be familiar to you.” Those include covers of Bert Jansch, Joni Mitchell and Rita MacNeil (naturally). “We didn’t take the ‘Jingle Bells’ approach,” Ellis notes.

In 2016 the band released  its own contribution to the canon, “Writing A Letter (This Christmas).” “Sometimes a melody just hits you. This in particular, I remember I was stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree—we have a popcorn-maker, so there’s a drone sound, an mmmm,” says Ellis. 
“As it was going I was really struck while I was decorating the place, this melody just came to me with a couple of lines that were Christmas-oriented. Then the popcorn maker stopped and I was like damn I gotta find that drone again.

“I feel like you can pick out a Christmas song over another song even if you don’t hear a sleigh bell or the word ‘Christmas’ in it,” he says. “It just has an air to it.”

Look for Villages’ debut album next year, and give yourself the gift of “Writing A Letter” right now:

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