Sunday, February 24, 2013

Music Review: Christmas Time Is Here by Erin O'Donnell

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun Christmas project that doesn't sound like everything else out there.
Cons: None.
The Bottom Line:
Christmas mixed with jazz
Provides fun take on classics
That feel like new songs

Jazzy Christmas Gem

I love all things Christmas, including Christmas music. As a result, I often buy Christmas CD's by artists I might not normally give a second thought to. I have a few CD's I don't wind up listening to that much as a result, but I have some that become favorites I can't wait to pull out each year. Christmas Time Is Here falls into the second category.

Erin O'Donnell goes with one of the popular choices when it comes to Christmas CD's, she went with jazzy arrangements. As a result, this disc sounds different from most of what's in my collection, making it stand out.

Also helping it stand out are the fun arrangements. "Frosty the Snowman/Winter Wonderland" immediately springs to mind. It's an upbeat medley with great drums and piano that will have you tapping your toe along right away. Also in the fun, upbeat camp is "Angels We Have Heard on High." "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is sped up from its normal tempo just slightly. Even so, it's enough to make you listen to it more closely then you normally might.

The CD isn't afraid to slow things down as well, creating some intimate moments. "I'll be Home for Christmas" brings the longing of the song right to the forefront. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is haunting here. Both songs feature piano and guitar with light drums and sound like something you would here in a coffee house. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is another song that stands out. Accompanied only by acoustic guitar, she expertly captures the longing of the words.

I'll admit to being a purest when it comes to the title song. Nobody does "Christmas Time is Here" like the cast of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. This version actually equals it because it retains the same flavor. The song originally was all about jazz, and it fits in well here. Frankly, listening to it makes me want to watch the special.

There are two new songs on this disc. Up first is the fun "Christmas Kiss." It's an upbeat, playful song about a woman who decides to take the relationship with her would be boyfriend into her own hands. I really like it.

"Waiting for Love to be Born" is actually ten years old, but I've never heard it before. A medium tempo track, it talks about the magic of Christmas, both for kids but also in the birth of Jesus.

I'd actually forgotten just how much I loved Christmas Time Is Here until I pulled it out again this year. I can already tell this will be one I don't want to put away come January.

CD Length: 37:07
1. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
2. Frosty the Snowman/Winter Wonderland
3. Christmas Time is Here
4. Angels We Have Heard on High
5. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
6. Christmas Kiss
7. I'll be Home for Christmas
8. Waiting for Love to be Born
9. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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