LIVE: “Mountain Snow and Mistletoe” @ The Egg, 12/12/15

December 21st, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg

Review by Greg Haymes

“Mountain Snow and Mistletoe” begins, as always, with the ever-hopeful “Light a Light.” And it ends with “Light a Light.”

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But, alas, this year’s pair of “Mountain Snow & Mistletoe” shows was the last…

In an age when Christmas extravaganzas are sometimes jam-packed with an arsenal of non-stop laser lighting and grandiose prog-metal guitars – yes, we’re talking to you, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who were at the Times Union Center the same weekend – it’s been oh-so comforting that the husband-and-wife team of Chris Shaw and Bridget Ball have returned year after year with their intimate, folksy but freewheeling “Mountain Snow and Mistletoe” show.

They’ve been doing it for 25 years now at various venues around Greater Nippertown, and it’s become a great tradition. And, of course, the holiday season is all about tradition, but shows earlier this month marked the end of the run. So while the Saturday night show at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, where it’s called home since 2010, was as joyous and homespun as ever, it was also a bittersweet affair.

In addition to ringleaders Shaw and Ball, the cast has remained the same with a trio of multi-talented musicians – John Kirk, Kevin McKrell and Brian Melick – comprising the “Mountain Snow Orchestra.” This year, however, the “orchestra” expanded to include multi-instrumentalist-singer-clog dancer Trish Miller and bass master Tony Markellis, anchoring the proceedings and offering a broader sonic scope.

The concert – featuring two full hour-long sets – was a fabulous, family-friendly pageant of songs, stories and laughs that never failed to evoke the good cheer and spirit of the season. They served up traditional carols (“O Come All Ye Faithful,” a surprisingly rollicking rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” sung by McKrell and a lovely Ball-and-Shaw duet of “Silent Night”). And they offered an array of holiday pop classics (the encores of “White Christmas” and the a cappella finale of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” in addition to a decidedly non-holiday-centric re-write of “Winter Wonderland”).

The highlights were numerous, including Kirk’s “Waiting for the Light,” McKrell and Melick’s still hilarious Marx Brothers-like interpretation of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and Shaw’s “Uncle Walt” tall tale of hunting down Christmas dinner with a single bullet, as well as his masterfully understated tale of the Christmas that almost wasn’t and the generosity that saved it, “Ten Dollar Christmas” – a song that still makes me openly weep with joy every year when I hear it.

What will we do without “Mountain Snow and Mistletoe” next year? McKrell offered one possible solution. “Maybe next year, John, Brian and I will do a Christmas show,” he suggested, “and have Chris and Bridget as special guests.”

Not a bad idea…

A FEW MINUTES WITH… Chris Shaw of “Mountain Snow & Mistletoe”

One thought on “LIVE: “Mountain Snow and Mistletoe” @ The Egg, 12/12/15”

  1. I’ve been attending Mountainsnow since I was a child, and in recent years attended with my parents and my own daughter. We were all in tears over the end of this tradition. We will miss it, but I’m so glad it was a part of my Christmas for so long.

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