America over the years has created its own canon of Christmas songs. Some from traditional sources like Franz Gruber, other from unlikely sources such as John Lennon. Here are four new releases that show the variety.
Sarah McLachlan mixes tradition with modern here, singing with Barenaked Ladies on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings and then does the John Lennon protest song “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” with a Music Outreach Choir. Her voice is made for this season, warm and clear like Waterford Crystal, sounding rich as she duets with Diana Krall on Vince Guraraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here.” Works very well.
Here’s an AWESOME collection of sounds from the TOTALLY AWESOME 80s with synth rhythmed bands like Wham, disco bands like Daryl Hall & John Oats and Ghostbuster Ray Parker Jr. Remember New Kids on the Block? Well, here they are still smiling on “This One’s For The Children,” and the pouting Run-DMC delivers “Christmas in Hollis.” Have a Great Day!!!
There’s something about the voices of Colm Keegan, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Neil Bryne, Emmet Cahill and George Donaldson, whether together or in solo, that makes you feel like you’re taking in a Christmas TV special, no matter the occasion. Here, the gents sound born for pieces with the Orchestra of Ireland and a band lead by pianist David Munro on “Gaudete” and “Gabriele’s Message.” The Christmas Medley defies anyone to take it down without a cup of egg nog!
Albums like this one by Earth, Wind & Fire are always my favorites. They deliver funky takes of “Sleigh Ride” and “Winter Wonderland,” and with Maurice White a new p iece “ Open Your Heart to Love” is a treat. Cleveland Brown has fun with “Get Your Hump on This Christmas” and Philip Bailey delivers a Natal love song on “I Asked For A Miracle (God Gave Me You).”These guys put the soul back in Solstice!