Tribune writer Glen Warchol attended the Lower Lights' show Thursday and here is his report:
It sounds like the opening of a very offensive joke: What do you get when you cram a few hundred Mormons, Jack Mormons and so-called Utah gentiles of every persuasion into a Masonic Temple to celebrate the hymns of Christmas?
A one-of-a-kind and moving concert.
Most of the holiday music Thursday night had been developed for the Utah musical group Lower Lights’ Christmas CD, “Come Let Us Adore Us,” and offered a twangy roots sound. The 20-member group somehow made the seasonal hymns and carols sound freshly authentic after years of mauling by the likes of Andy Williams, Mariah Carey, David Archuleta and Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Musician Paul Jacobsen told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month, “We wanted to hear our take on these songs that are kind of cultural wallpaper.”
The 20-member group’s take, it turns, out is delightful and often moving. Fiddler Ryan Shupe killed in the performance of “Little Drummer Boy,” if it’s possible, let alone appropriate, to “kill” on a Christmas song.
And vocalists, Sarah Sample, Cherie Call, Debra Fotheringham, blended the memory Andrews Sisters with that of Gene Autry to create the single best rendition of “White Christmas,”since it emerged in “Holiday Hotel.”
“Lower Lights” took the audience on a fervent ride with “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (Jacobsen and Dominic Moore) and knock-out version of Hank Williams “House of Gold” (Again, if it’s at all appropriate to knock out an audience at a Christmas concert).
Finally, the intimate Salt Lake Mason Temple auditorium, was one of the stars of the show itself by providing a faux canopy of stars for standards like “Silent Night and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”