'Fine Winter's Night' Turns Two; Heatons on Move

"Fine Winter's Night," the holiday album and live show by Irish duo Matt & Shannon Heaton, features traditional, updated, and original Irish music to help usher in Christmas. The Heatons will perform throughout the Northeast and Midwest this December.

Their calendar follows: Wed., Dec. 3, Lakeside Theater (Rangeley, ME); Dec. 4, Skye Theater (South Carthage, ME); Dec. 5, Old White Church (Tuftonboro, NH ); Dec.6, PACE (Pioneer Arts Center of Easthampton, MA).

Fri., Dec 12, Woman's Club (Lincoln, NE); Dec. 13, Iron Horse of El Dorado (El Dorado, KS); Dec. 14, Last Minute Folk (Topeka, KS); Wed., Dec. 17, Club Passim (Cambridge, MA); Fri., Dec 19, Godfrey Daniels (Bethlehem, PA); Dec. 20, Caffe Lena (Saratoga Springs, NY).

Boston-based Matt & Shannon Heaton's holiday songbook is not your run-of-the-mill collection of Christmas music. On their December 2007 CD release, "Fine Winter's Night," they feature music dating from the 12th to the 21st century. With an appealing blend of voices, guitar, bouzouki, Irish flute and whistle, "Fine Winter's Night" is simultaneously homegrown, refined and timeless.

Audiences will hear reassuring favorites (a lullaby version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and the anti-war hymn "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear") alongside unexpected new holiday songs ("First Snowfall of December" and "Julius the Christmas Cat"). It's secular and spiritual music to brighten chilly days and warm long winter nights.

Irish Music Magazine's Bill Margesen said, "For variety, fun, warmth and musicianship, this is the best of the lot," and Scott Alarik of the Boston Globe called it "a cocoa warm set of carols, wintry jigs, and originals about the snuggling moods of midwinter."

In addition to singing and playing with poise and passion, Matt and Shannon are natural performers. They connect with audiences, and each show reflects what and who is going on in the room at the moment. "Fine Winter's Night" is a sweet and splendid way to usher in the holidays for Irish music purists or general acoustic music lovers alike.