Shauna's Unique Holiday Offering

Bruce Von Stiers

I have reviewed a lot of holiday music over the last few years. From rock influenced songs to jazz and pop tinted songs, a lot of artists put their own spin on the classic tunes.

But I never expected an album of holiday music from Shauna Burns. Her music is more of an earthy, expansive ethereal style. I've reviewed a couple of things from Shauna and found her music unique. That is why I was a bit surprised at her recording an album of Christmas / winter holiday songs.

This new album features Shauna on piano as well as doing the vocals. The title of the album is A Winter Gathering. It was released on the Red Rock Music label.

The album has somewhat of a Celtic lean to it. So it's not surprising that there is Celtic harp music on it. That music is provided by Caroline Kemper. Lindsey Springer was on cello and James Clark did the percussion. Rick Kemper played both the penny whistle and uillean pipes for Shauna. On guitar and backing vocals was Ryan Whyte Maloney. And there was a five-member choir consisting of Stephanie Pecjak, David Pecjak, Kimberly Pecjak, Audrey Gonzalez and Aleeza Gonzalez.

Shauna begins the album with an interlude that is typical of her style. Slightly heavenly and lilting, the title of the interlude is Winter Star.

From there Shauna gives her own folk tint to the classic holiday song, Carol Of The Bells. The piano fits well as Shauna is a great pianist. The cello and the backing vocals bring a cool sound to the song. Parts of the song have an aching, heart rending tone.

Breathy and gentle, Shauna does a good job with White Christmas. There is some great cello in the song as well.

Slightly stronger and darker than I'm used to, Shauna uses a Gaelic tone to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Luma is an interlude that I thought would be strictly instrumental. But part way through the song there is a choral “halleluiah”. It is a beautiful, piano based song.

The First Noel is given a bright, Celtic styling with terrific lead and backing vocals. The same goes for the next song, a really great rendition of Silent Night.

The song that I probably liked most was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Shauna's vocals reminded me of Candice Night of Blackmore's Night.

The ninth song on the album was a soft yet aching tune, The Gathering.

Then there is an interesting, ethereal rendition of What A Wonderful World.

The final two songs on the album are wonderful strictly instrumental versions Carol of the Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at Shauna Burns recording a winter holiday album. After all, we supposedly celebrate the birth of Christ to coincide with the winter solstice. The pairing of traditional holiday songs and Shauna's unique style makes this an album well worth listening to.

Shauna has made the album available on iTunes, and CD Baby among other online music outlets. You can also order a copy of the album from her web site.

To find out more, visit


© 2011 Bruce E Von Stiers