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JFH Staff Review

Home For Christmas

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 47 minutes, 16 seconds
Street Date: September 23, 2008

So it begins…another fresh season of Christmas music. Though some of us are slightly more partial to these holiday offerings than others, no matter how great of a fan one may be, it's clear that some projects are far better than others. Christian music's favorite all girl rock band BarlowGirl serves up their helping of holiday cheer on their first ever full length Christmas project.

Rewind back a few years… BarlowGirl recorded and released a rocking arrangement of the Christmas classic "O Holy Night" that could be heard on radio as well as a handful of compilation discs. Considering how outstanding this track sounded, I assumed that the Barlow sisters would create their Christmas album continuing with a similar sound. However, the young women set aside their rock roots and take a more traditional approach to their latest disc.

Beautiful. Classic. Timeless. All three of these words perfectly describe Home for Christmas. As for BarlowGirl's signature harmonies? They have never sounded better. Bassist/keyboardist Alyssa Barlow takes majority of the leads with her soaring, unwavering vocals while sisters drummer Lauren and guitarist Rebecca lend their voices for support. The trio of sisters also reach unprecedented heights for the band musically.

Home for Christmas gets started just right with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." With sleigh bells, big band influences, and cheerful vocals, this opening classic sets the stage for the rest of the record. One of the best songs follows, "Carol of the Bells." Given that this song has been covered countless times over the years, BarlowGirl delivers it flawlessly. Such finely crafted songs as these bring to mind favorite Christmas imagery, such as bright lights adorning large trees, snow falling from the sky, and a cup of hot chocolate while sitting by the fire.

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "What Child is This" make the most of a classical inspired piano while drummer Lauren Barlow allows her singing talents to shine. Reminiscent of Amy Grant's version of "Breathe of Heaven (Mary's Song)" is the Barlow's gorgeous take on "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." "Hallelujah (Light Has Come)" is an original song which fits in nicely with the other ten tracks and doesn't stray from the overall sound of the project. "Go Tell it on the Mountain" is one of the few truly upbeat tracks, creating a full sound with an added choir and horn section.

It's been quite the journey watching the Barlow sisters develop and grow as artists since they made their debut in 2004. Even with their Christmas album, BarlowGirl has made great strides forward as a band. From beginning to end, Home for Christmas is a whirlwind adventure with all the bells and whistles any seasonal project should have. Keep Home for Christmas close by this holiday!

- Review date: 9/21/08, written by Lauren Summerford

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. Record Label: Fervent Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 47 minutes, 16 seconds
. Street Date: September 23, 2008
. Buy It:

  1. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
  2. Carol Of The Bells/ Sing We Now of Christmas
  3. I'll Be Home For Christmas
  4. Hallelujah (Light Has Come)
  5. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  6. What Child Is This?
  7. Panis Angelicus
  8. Angelic Proclamation
  9. Go, Tell It On The Mountain
  10. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  11. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
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