Well, as promised, here are some late-arriving Christmas offerings! Enjoy! I want to wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas!
Matthew West– The Heart of Christmas
There is a distinctive sound to many Christmas songs- happy jingle-jangle arrangements that permeate much of the offerings this time of year. Matthew West seems to have hit all these notes in abundance. The songs vary from the Michael Buble-like “Jingle Bells” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to the country with the beautiful “The Heart of Christmas” to the tearful true-story of “One Last Christmas”. . One could argue that Matthew West doesn’t bring anything new in these songs but just like it is hard to explain why a child loves a well-worn blanket, I find this an incredibly comfortable and satisfying Christmas album.
Sarah Hart– This Winter’s Eve
Sarah has always been one of my favorite Catholic female artists. This very unique Christmas offering is no different. With only one carol, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”, such a project is quite risky. Without familiarity, the songs must all be strong enough to captivate and engage the listener. This acoustic album, which features Sarah’s beautiful and delicate voice, has incredibly strong songs. My favorites include the Celtic-flavored “The Light of Christmas Morn”, the Marian “Let it be So”, and a duet with Amy Grant on “What Love Has Done”. All three songs have the potential to be Christmas standards. Highly Recommended!
Kutless– This is Christmas
This is an EP with Kutless’ familiar mid-tempo rock sound. If you like Nickelback and similar bands, but with much cleaner vocals, this may be the album for you. Songs like “O Holy Night” work great in this type of a setting. There is a very odd song choice in “Breath of Heaven”, a song sung from the perpective of Mary and very jarring when sung by a male voice. There is also a bit of sameness that haunts all the arrangements of this album. Although not one of my favorites this year, it is still a reasonably solid offering and deserves a listen.