Friday, December 07, 2012

25 Days of Holiday Music: Day 7

Our artist for Day 7 is Tonic Sol-Fa. They are four guys singing a cappella. Founded about 12 years ago at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, Tonic Sol-Fa has a catalog of 14 CD releases and two DVDs. They've sold over 1,000,000 copies of their CDs and have a successful touring career, having appeared on NBC’s Today Show, numerous late-night TV shows, and Garrison Keillor’s 30th anniversary celebration of A Prairie Home Companion.

I would call Tonic Sol-Fa's musical something along the lines of, say, hip-pop. And by that I mean they have a pop-oriented and far-too-safe-to-really-be-called hip-hop sound. It's, um, kind of a slick barbershop quartet thing. Their recordings are distinguished by their sparseness: only four voices and a little percussion. Today's song comes from a promotional giveaway CD: Pillsbury® Holiday Shape® Cookies Presents: Tonic Sol-Fa -- A Capella Holiday Music Favorites. It is always among the first CDs I crack out after spending Thanksgiving at my parents' home. Of the 10 tracks on this disc, "Sn ō" is the most contemporary, and that's saying something considering Sonic Tol-Fa's rendering of some old, favorite hymns. Still, "Sn ō" is an upbeat, but steady, interpretation of "Let it Snow," and it is a perfect addition to the 25 Days posts.

I can't be certain, but I think the first time I heard today's holiday song was in 2002. Or was it 2003? I do know I was still involved with a community theater in Hatboro, PA. And I know one of the directors there handed out promotional copies of the Pillsbury promotional CD. (He worked at one of the local grocery stores and they apparently had an overabundance of the discs).

These days, it is difficult, but not impossible, to find the Pillsbury giveaway. It's not even listed on Sonic Tol-Fa's discography. However, the exact same tracklist is available on their 2002 release, Sugaure. So if you enjoy "Sn ō," please check out a copy of the full album.

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