Move over Mariah, there are new “Christmas kings” in town, and yes, they know that Christmas is about the King of kings. The folk rock band, Scythian, has debuted their first-ever Christmas album, titled Christmas Out at Sea, by Scythian and Friends and it is one you will want on your shelves, in your music library, and on your Christmas playlists! Scythian is a four man band featuring founding brothers Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka, who also sing most of the vocals and play the fiddle and mandolin, and rhythm guitar and accordion, respectively, Ethan Dean who plays the electric and upright bass and joins the Fedoryka brothers on vocals, and Johnny Rees who plays the drums (and a mean washboard!). Talk about musical talent!
Scythian’s (sith-ee-yin’s) Christmas surprise
Just when you thought that Christmas music couldn’t surprise (and subsequently delight) you anymore, along comes this album that will have you tapping your toes, dancing a jig, and pausing to imagine a town on the seashore awaiting the return of its sailors at Christmastime. Tracks like Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent, recorded in a haunting chant-style with bells that toll in the background, give the impression of rough and rugged sailors singing out across the ocean waters, while the Christmas Reel will have you up on your feet and dancing. The opening track, I Saw Three Ships, transports the listener to a seaside town where bells toll, gulls cry, and the band showcases their unique Celtic style in a version of the song that will have you ready to set sail while dancing a jig up the gangplank.
What album about being out at sea would be complete without the currently popular The Wellerman? Christmas Out at Sea not only includes the catchy sea shanty, but Scythian has incorporated a Christmas twist that will make all other versions of the song seem lacking. Scythian invited some of their friends )and spouses!) to contribute to the tracks and listeners will be treated to the beautiful voice of Catie Parker Fedoryka, who has featured in other Scythian collaborations like their popular song from their Roots and Stones album, Virginia. (Side-note: Roots and Stones was listed in the Top 50 Roots Albums of 2020 and beat out Taylor Swift and Nathanial Rateliff!) HoneyDay, a relatively new band on the Americana/Soul scene, gives listeners a rendition of In the Bleak Midwinter, in their lilting and soulful feminine voices, that acts as a bookend to the deep masculine tones of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent. Boxing Banjo and Nolan Ladewski showcase their talents in the Christmas Reel, and you can easily imagine sailors below decks dancing on tables, or a celebration in the seaside pub in honor of the birth of Christ.
Scythian’s arrangement of The Angel Gabriel will become the only rendition of that song you’ll want to listen to as the harmonies of the men honor the Mother of God, and the rousing Christmas at Home track takes listeners to the town wharf where it seems as though the sailors have come home and it is time to carol and celebrate with family and friends. Throughout the album, as the listeners find themselves aboard ship, below deck, in the town pub, and waiting for the sailor’s return, the true reason for Christmas is highlighted. There is no mistake that the foot stomping, hand clapping energy this album conveys is all because “a Child was born in Bethlehem, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
This Christmas season, give the Christmas crooners a rest, put Bing and Bublé on pause, and let Scythian take you on a journey to Christmas Out at Sea. You won’t want to ever listen to Christmas music the same way again!
Scythian, the “high-energy folk” rock band from the Washington D.C., has delighted, entertained, and energized audiences for over 12 years. They headline and host a music festival in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia every year called Appaloosa, where families come and enjoy a fun filled, music filled weekend of “Celtic, bluegrass, indie, and folk music.” Families can camp on the grounds and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered on one of the stages on the Sunday of the festival. To find out more about Scythian, which was described as “Washington D.C.’s most energetic and eclectic band,” by the Washington Post, and about whom iHeart Radios’ Arroe Collins said, “Scythian has reinvented folk rock in America,” and to purchase Christmas Out at Sea, visit their website by clicking here.
Featured image: Scythian downloads, Jason Eib, scythianmusic.com