The Gathering started out as an idea for a group of songs about a journey home on a winter’s night. It evolved into a collaboration between a symphony, a songwriter and a string band then became an album. Our Free Mp3 of the Day, “Light in the Lowlands,” is one beautiful piece of the story.

The idea for the song cycle sprung from the creative minds of Rhiannon Giddens, member of the stellar folk outfit Carolina Chocolate Drops and Laurelyn Dossett, the Grammy-nominated songwriter and performer.

Together they were commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony to create The Gathering: A Winter’s Tale in Six Songs, a set of music that was premiered in Cary, North Carolina on November 25, 2011.

A few weeks later, Giddens and Dossett gathered with mandolin player Mike Compton, banjo player Joe Newberry and bassist Jason Sypher, decamped to a log cabin in the woods, built a fire and set the songs to tape.

From that set, known as The Gathering, we offer “Light in the Lowlands.” Tender, heartfelt, warm as that crackling fire and as cozy as a feather bed, it’s destined to be a holiday classic, ideal for a night of tree-trimming and eggnog drinking.

This video tells the story of how the set came together, some of it in the kitchen, it appears.

℗ 2011

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