Carol Noonan – Christmas (2003)

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Here’s the story of how a holiday music CD came to me by way of a Cheap Trick show I attended during the early 1990s. The opening act for the show was an unknown New England-area band called Knots and Crosses. Fronted by singer Carol Noonan, they knocked us out.

You know how warmup bands are often booed, sneered at or outright ignored? Not this time. The combination of the band’s jangly rock and Noonan’s incredible, trilling voice just blew us away. They ended with an acapella version of “Gimme Shelter.” It was one of those things where you stand there and, for a moment, forget who you are. After I was done clapping and yelling my brains out, I wiped the drool from my chin and dashed over to the music concession and nabbed a copy of their CD.

Knots and Crosses broke up but Carol Noonan went on to make several solo records. She and husband Jeff also put a stamp on their local (western Maine) arts world by converting their barn to a performing arts center. Quite an undertaking and also a heartfelt effort at community involvement.

Noonan’s 2003 collection of Christmas recordings reminds me of what attracted me to her voice in the first place. I might get tired of hearing this music by the end of the season, but Noonan’s phenomenal version of “O Holy Night” will never wear out its welcome. Not to these ears. There are a few original tunes on this collection as well, my favorite being “Christmas of ’64”, about Carol’s first guitar (Yes, I remember my first guitar too).

Carol Noonan’s ‘Christmas’ is on sale through her Web site.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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