Award-winning acoustic Americana band Misty River celebrates the release of its new album, "Midwinter: Songs of Christmas," with a concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the River Theater, 230 W. Marine Drive. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door and are available at the River Theater or the Astoria Co-op. For more information, call (503) 325-7487 or visit www.rivertheater.com

With voices described as "spine-tingling" by OPB-TV's "Oregon Art Beat," the four women of Misty River are known for their polished, yet relaxed and humorous, live performances and downright stunning vocal harmony. In this stop on the band's "Midwinter" tour of 18 Pacific Northwest cities, Misty River will perform beautiful ballads, upbeat bluegrass and traditional and original songs of the season. The "Midwinter" tour will also highlight Misty River's award-winning songwriting and distinctive acoustic instrumentation of accordion, fiddle, guitar, banjo, ukulele and upright bass.

Although the seven-year-old Pacific Northwest-based Misty River is not new to local audiences, 2004 marks a monumental year for the band. Misty River was selected to represent Americana music at the 2004 Shanghai International Music Festival in China, then returned home to release its third album, "Willow," to widespread local and international acclaim. The independent band hit the 25,000 mark in CD sales, and has built a following of devoted fans that regularly sell out the venues where the band performs.

Misty River has also met challenges this year. In March, guitarist/vocalist Carol Harley was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a life-threatening disease of the blood and bone marrow. Despite this setback, Misty River has made 2004 its most prolific recording year to date, with the release of the band's fourth album this December. The project was recorded at Blackberry Hill Studios, and includes guest artist and guitar virtuoso Doug Smith.

Misty River consists of Carol Harley of Vancouver, Wash., on guitar, banjo and ukulele, Chris Kokesh of Portland on fiddle and guitar, Dana Abel of Eugene on accordion and Laura Quigley of Portland on acoustic bass.

For more information about Misty River, visit www.mistyriverband.com or call (541) 344-7433.

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