Song written by Robin Pecknold. Recorded and released by the Fleet Foxes in 2008 as the first single from their self-titled debut album. The single was issued on 7" vinyl as well as digital MP3 format.
The song was covered by Sonos on the album 'Sonosings', and by Birdy on her self-titled debut album (2011).
Kim Wilde version
In 2013, Kim recorded a cover of this song together with her father Marty Wilde. Seventh track of the album Wilde Winter Songbook. The song was first performed live in Chris Evans' breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 on 8 November 2013. A music video was premiered on YouTube on 11 November 2013.
'White Winter Hymnal' was performed live during Christmas gigs in December 2013 and during the Christmas concerts at Knebworth House in December 2014.
Kim about 'White Winter Hymnal'
I first heard this song when I saw the Fleet Foxes perform it at Glastonbury in 2011 and loved it straight away. I remember as children my Dad, Marty Wilde, and Mum, Joyce, would encourage Ricky and me to take harmonies on ‘Everly Brothers’ songs. Finding a harmony in any song became second nature to me from an early age, and I went on to do the majority of all backing vocals on my records. Like the Fleet Foxes, we were all big fans of ‘harmony-based’ bands and artistes, loving Bryan Wilson and the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills and Nash among others. I knew my Dad would love the quirky eccentricity of this song along with the sublime melody and harmonies. My brother, Ricky, takes third harmony, and so the three of us – Marty, Rick and myself are taken back to where it all started, together with Ricky’s daughter Scarlett Wilde, who’s harmony work carries on the family tradition. (1)
I love its darker aspects. I thought it would be really interesting for my father to sing some lyrics he doesn't normally sing. I wasn't that surprised when he said yes. He's always had an extremely open mind. (2)
Vocals: Kim Wilde, Marty Wilde, Ricky Wilde & Scarlett Wilde
Bass & keys: Ricky Wilde
Drums & percussion: Jonathan Atkinson
Guitars: Neil Jones
Produced by Ricky Wilde
Recorded at RAK Studios, London
Mixed by Ricky Wilde & Sean Vincent at RAK Studios, London
Engineered by Sean Vincent, assisted by Robbie Nelson & Helen Atkinson
(1) Track by track, Kimwilde.com website (UK), November 11, 2013
(2) Kim Wilde on Adam Ant, Christmas and the enduring power of 1980s pop, Herald Scotland (UK), December 5, 2015