Christmastime is hard not to like. Every year around the holiday season, carolers stroll from block to block, buildings are covered with strings of bright lights and homes are filled with joyous music celebrating this special time of year. Everyone seems to be in the Christmas spirit, and often you may find yourself singing without even realizing it. For many, the Christmas season is never long enough, and some can be heard humming the tune of "White Christmas" long after New Year's Day has passed. Christmas also means the release of new holiday records by many popular artists, and this year, MercyMe makes their contribution with The Christmas Sessions.
The Christmas Sessions is a collection of classic and modern holiday carols that warm your heart and put a smile on your face. Lead singer Bart Millard's smooth, soothing vocals are perfect for the mood of the songs, while the instrumental "Away In A Manger" is a beautifully simplistic expression that adds that "special something" to the record.
One distinct thing that MercyMe does in their songs is add the presence of instruments like trombone, trumpet, and mandolin. They make several songs more unique instead of resembling every other version of "Winter Wonderland" you've heard. One of the highlights of the album is "Joseph's Lullaby," an exceptional song that stands out from the rest with its sincere lyrics and elegant strings. The rest of album also has a great variety; no two songs sound alike. From the passionate "Little Drummer Boy" to "Silent Night" to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," the selections here never grow boring.
Not enough can be said about this outstanding effort from MercyMe. The album seems a bit out of character for the group at some points, but their willingness to take a risk definitely pays off in the end. The band should be proud of what should be a very successful release. The Christmas Sessions will make a great addition to your holiday collection, but listen with caution; you may find yourself spinning this disc all the way into the month of February.- Review date: 9/24/05, written by Spencer Priest
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