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Charles Spearin finds his voice in "The Christmas Box"

24 December 2020, 13:15 | Written by Ro Cemm

You’ll have heard plenty of Charles Spearin over the years, either as part of Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene or playing on albums by the likes of Feist and Jim Bryson. What you most likely won’t have heard, however, is him singing. Until now. Time to open up "The Christmas Box".

Charles Spearin isn't normally a fan of festive songs, saying, "Holiday music is mostly employed as a torturous ploy to buy things you don’t need. And yet, and yet…"

"The Christmas Box" kicks off Toronto label Arts & Crafts' own festive album Home For The Holidays, which also features seasonal selections from the likes of Hannah Georgas, Sloan, Dan Mangan and Jordan Klassen amongst others.

Of the track itself, Spearin says, "This is a song about finding small sparks of love within the mundanity of the holidays. It’s a song about getting old. It’s a song about recognizing the impermanence of all things despite the illusions of tradition."

This year saw the release of the magnificent Thank God The Plague Is Over, recorded in a chapel in Northern Italy with Swedish violinist Josefin Runsteen. The album takes its name from the grateful graffiti scrawled on the chapel walls following the elimination of the bubonic plague - survival, determination and gratitude rolled in to one. These energies were worked into the daily improvisations between Spearin’s nyckelharpa and Runsteen’s violin. It’s a moving, powerful, and occasionally explosive thing of beauty.

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