Rachel Garlin photo by Tiffany Murray
Americana Highways is hosting this video premiere of Rachel Garlin’s holiday song “Winter Fuel (Good King Wenceslas Revisited)” which is, as the title indicates, a “Good King Wenceslas” adaptation of John Mason Neale’s 1853 traditional song.
“Winter Fuel (Good King Wenceslas Revisited)” was produced by Jonny Flaugher; recorded and mixed by Jason Soda at Palomino Sounds with additional recording and mixing by by Adam Rossi.
Musicians on the recording are Rachel Garlin on guitar, vocals, and sleigh bells; Jonny Flaugher on bass; David Levita on guitar; Deron Johnson on keys; Beth Goodfellow on drums and background vocals; with the San Francisco Boys Chorus on background vocals, led by director Ian Robertson.
The video footage and editing is by Rachel Garlin with additional footage by Michael Paim and Calvin West. The video features a cameo by Josephine Janet.
This is a fantastic imaginative adaptation of the traditional song to a contemporary vision, because, for one thing, Garlin really puts her own signature style on it, while balancing the familiar aspects of the original. But she really excels at bringing the song’s message into focus on a stark reality of today. Scenes of comfort in a snow-covered cabin, homeless encampment tents and explaining poverty to an inquisitive young child. Winter fuel. Cardboard boxes. Our neighbors. Longing for connection. An exchange of flower drawings. In the world of re-visioned holiday songs, this one is two thumbs up.
Who doesn’t need a little more brotherly/sisterly/siblingly love in their city? “Winter Fuel” is based on a fleeting moment of connection between humans in a city.
“Good King Wenceslas” was a favorite, not because we followed the story, but because we got to sing triumphantly about the mysterious Feast of Stephen and deliver lyrics like hence and dinted (with feeling)! It was a good time.
Lyric message from the song: “Separateness gives way to love, if only for a second.” — Rachel Garlin
Find more music by Rachel Garlin here: https://rachelgarlin.hearnow.com/winter-fuel-good-king-wenceslas-revisited
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Interview: Rachel Garlin Reflects on Openness During Closed Times with ‘The State That We Are In’