Christmas music is one of the only genres of music that is timeless. While there are different styles and kinds of Christmas music, it's ultimately the records and artists you grow up listening to that continue to put you in that Christmas mood every year. InPop artist Erin O'Donnell shares that same love for traditional Christmas music and effectively passes on this feeling in the form of her own Christmas project, Christmas Time Is Here.
Mixing traditional secular classics with popular spiritual ones, along with a few personal favorites, O'Donnell includes a healthy mix of songs to make her release unique and familiar at the same time. Opening with a folky rendition of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and moving into a fun swing-beat medley of "Frosty The Snowman / Winter Wonderland," O'Donnell's Christmas debut starts strongly. The jazzy ballad of the title track, "Christmas Time Is Here," from A Charlie Brown Christmas, is a strong highlight and gives a great fireside atmosphere. In fact, the stripped-down and acoustic approach to much of the record gives the album a very late night coffee house feeling. O'Donnell knows she doesn't need an orchestral ensemble to create a Christmas record and her approach is more personal. And personal it certainly gets as she includes "Christmas Kiss," a song her would-be husband wrote for her while they were dating in college, followed by a melancholy and emotional rendition of "I'll Be Home For Christmas." The album concludes with a piano-driven and immensely beautiful and contemplative version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
With enough familiarity on Christmas Time Is Here to make it inviting and enough unique qualities to help it stand out from the rest, Erin O'Donnell's Christmas record is a wonderful addition to anyone's yearly seasonal music collection. If you're looking for something new this season, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Christmas Time Is Here and a unnecessarily large cup of hot cocoa (with marshmallows of course) and enjoy!- Review date: 11/28/04, written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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