LIVE: “Mountain Snow & Mistletoe” @ The Egg, 12/10/11

December 19th, 2011, 4:18 pm by Greg
Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw

In an age when Christmas extravaganzas are sometimes jam-packed with bombastic prog-metal instrumentals and an arsenal of non-stop laser lighting – yes, the Trans Siberian Orchestra is returning to the Times Union Center on Monday, December 26 – it’s comforting that Chris Shaw & Bridget Ball return year after year with their intimate and folksy “Mountain Snow & Mistletoe” show.

They’ve been doing it annually since 1989 at various venues around Nippertown, and it’s become a tradition. And the holiday season is all about tradition. The pair of shows that Shaw and Ball presented earlier this month marked the third year that they’ve filled the Swyer Theatre at The Egg with their joyful, homespun sounds.

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.”

It was quite simply a fabulous, family-friendly pageant of songs, stories and laughs that never failed to evoke the good cheer and spirit of the season.

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

NOTE: Kevin McKrell leads his own band, the McKrells, in a string of Christmas concerts this week. They’ll play a benefit concert at the First Baptist Church of Saratoga at 7pm on Wednesday (December 21). Tix are $10; $8 for children, with proceeds going to the First Baptist Church and Hospice Gateway House of Saratoga. And then they’ll head to the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs for holiday shows at 7 & 9pm on Thursday (December 22) and at 8pm on Friday (December 23). Tix are $10.

Bridget Ball

Bridget Ball

Brian Melick and Kevin McKrell

Brian Melick and Kevin McKrell

John Kirk

John Kirk


LIVE: Mountain Snow & Mistletoe @ The Egg, 12/12/09mas

December 14th, 2009, 11:41 am by Greg

John Kirk, Kevin McKrell, Chris Shaw, Bridget Ball

John Kirk, Kevin McKrell, Chris Shaw, Bridget Ball

In the middle of Saturday night’s show, Chris Shaw explained, “People don’t like their traditions messed with.” And, dangling participle be damned, he’s right.

So a lot of this year’s Mountain Snow & Mistletoe show relied on the tried and true – from Bridget Ball‘s rousing rendition of the ever-hopeful opening and closing number “Light a Light” to Shaw’s 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 weep with joy every year when I hear it.

If Ball and Shaw act as the good, homespun parents and ringleaders of this musical family, the members of the Mountain Snow Orchestra are well aware of their roles in this “pageant,” and they over the years they’ve brought more and more to their parts. Kevin McKrell plays the black-sheep bad boy always ready with a quip. Percussionist extraordinaire Brian Melick plays the endearing clown. And John Kirk, well, plays just about every musical instrument with strings on it.

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Five Firsts: Bridget Ball Shaw

December 9th, 2009, 3:22 pm by Greg

BridgetBallNAME: Bridget Ball Shaw

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Um – I think it was “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I remember laying on the floor in the living room, listening to it over and over and over …

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Jethro Tull, the “Thick as a Brick” tour. Went with another 14 year old. Good golly, were we ever surprised when that Ian Anderson fellow came out in … what was that? A jock strap? Hoo boy.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … A piano. My mom and dad recently gave me that piano. A precious gift and beautiful part of my life and my home.


5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … A pick-up band while studying at UAlbany. The BEST band I was ever in was the Mountain Snow Orchestra!

Bridget Ball Shaw teams up with husband Chris Shaw and the Mountain Snow Orchestra for performances of their annual holiday concert, “Mountain Snow and Mistletoe,” at The Egg in Albany on Saturday and Sunday, December 12-13.

PS: You can also see Chris Shaw’s Five Firsts right here.

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