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Singing the winter away: Shelburne folk duo Naming the Twins releases new album


Kathleen Glauser (left) and Robbie Smith are the popular Shelburne folk duo, Naming the Twins. - Lisa Buchanan
Kathleen Glauser (left) and Robbie Smith are the popular Shelburne folk duo, Naming the Twins. - Lisa Buchanan

Looking for a new soundtrack to your holiday season? Naming the Twins’ new album will help you Sing the Winter Away.

Produced by Bill Garrett of Borealis Records, Sing the Winter Away is an album of original songs celebrating winter and Christmas. The video to the title track, Sing the Winter Away, was released on YouTube on Nov. 23. 

This is the fourth full-length album released by Naming the Twins, comprised of Robbie Smith and Kathleen Glauser. The popular Shelburne folk duo is currently hard at work touring. In November, Naming the Twins toured in Ontario and the United States. Serendipity — and a little help from a friend — played a role in getting them there.

Rich Warren supported them by playing their songs on his syndicated radio show, The Midnight Special, as well as Folkstage — a weekly live-to-radio concert series — on Chicago’s WFMT radio station.

Over the years, Warren repeatedly invited Naming the Twins to Chicago, but their previous U.S. tour schedules never took them in that direction at that time of year … until now.

It all started when Naming the Twins was chosen for the Suzi Wollenberg Folk DJ Showcase, which opened the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference on Nov. 9. They were presented by none other than Warren, who had never heard them perform live before.

“He normally would never present anyone at this showcase unless he’d already heard them live, so he was taking a bit of a chance,” Glauser says. “He said, ‘You’d better be as good as your records are!’ No pressure, right?”

Glauser went on to describe the situation as “The kind of offer that you don’t say no to.”

“You say yes, you clap your hands in glee, and then you

turn around and go, ‘Oh my goodness, how are we going to make that work?’”

Once they accepted the gig, Glauser and Smith started mapping out a tour route and preparing for this showcase.

To optimize their travel, Naming the Twins applied for the VIA Rail Artists on Board series, which took them from Halifax to Montreal in exchange for performing on board. They performed several concerts in Ontario and Illinois, and then returned to Nova Scotia on Nov. 28 — once again taking part in Artists on Board to sing their way back home.

The train performances proved to be especially memorable, in part because passengers were invited to sing along with Naming the Twins.

“People seem to be unbelievably interested in the ‘singing on board’ thing,” Glauser says. “I have no idea why, but people’s eyes light up and they get all excited.”

Throughout this tour, Naming the Twins have been introducing songs from their new CD — which is perfect for the holiday season.

“The Christmas songs we’ve done so far have all been original,” Smith explains. “People have expressed how refreshing it is to have new Christmas songs and new winter material. Also, we’ve been getting a lot of really great feedback about the lyrics and how meaningful they are … which is really gratifying, as a songwriter.”

In December, Naming the Twins launched a series of concerts in Nova Scotia, starting out at the Osprey Arts Centre in Shelburne (Dec. 1), then continuing on to Sip Café in Yarmouth (Dec. 2) and Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Company in Hortonville (Dec. 4).

On Dec. 5, they'll perform at the Carleton Music Bar and Grill in Halifax. On Dec. 6 they’re set to play Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Bridgewater, followed up by shows at Lane’s Privateer Inn in Liverpool (Dec. 11) and the Dawn Oman Art Gallery in Bridgetown (Dec. 12).Their tour resumes in January in the eastern U.S.

Sing the Winter Away is available online (iTunes, Google Play, CD Baby, Amazon and Spotify), at Charlotte Lane Café & Gift Shop in Shelburne, at all Naming the Twins concerts and on their website (www.namingthetwins.com).

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