The Christmas Chart
- Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Erin O’Donnell: "Christmas Time Is Here"
1. Ratio of originals to covers: 2:8
2. Track You’ll Be Humming Long After the CD Stops: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” — The jazzy groove and thumping upright bass will put you in the Christmas mood in no time.
3. Fun Facts: “Christmas Kiss” is the first song Erin’s husband, Brad O’Donnell, ever wrote for her while they were in college, ironically, studying jazz together.
4. Vibe: Think upbeat jazz with just a splash of Latin salsa (“Angels We Have Heard on High”) and a nod to Alison Krauss (“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”).
5. Listen While You … cozy up to a fire, drinking hot cocoa and munching on cookies.
6. Fa la la la la Factor: 3.5 candy canes — This album might lull a little here and there; but it puts a fun, creative spin on several Christmas favorites.
**The Peanuts Award for including “Christmas Time Is Here” from "A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Soundtrack Recording from the CBS Special"
Denver & the Mile High Orchestra: "Timeless Christmas"
1. Ratio of originals to covers: 7:6
2. Track You’ll Be Humming Long After the CD Stops: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — This swinging song will certainly play in your head — and most likely have you dancing — long after the music comes to an end.
3. Fun Fact: This is the band’s first Christmas recording.
4. Vibe: Denver and his 11 cohorts offer the full big band experience on the majority of the tracks but aren’t afraid to veer off every now and then.
5. Listen While You … have friends over for a merry holiday gathering
6. Fa la la la la Factor: 4 candy canes — The original songs are a nice diversion (especially “This Must Be the Place”), but Denver & the Mile High Orchestra really hits a homerun with the classics.
The Katinas: "Family Christmas"
1. Ratio of originals to covers: 7:3
2. Track You’ll Be Humming Long After the CD Stops: “Christmas Is Here” — This funk-infused cut stands out musically from the rest of the tracks, and you can just tell the brothers had fun with this one!
3. Fun Facts: They’ve performed on five Christmas tours (three with Amy Grant; two with Michael W. Smith), but this is the first Christmas recording.
4. Vibe: A little R&B, a little funk, a little traditional, a little rock and a lot of five-part harmony
5. Listen While You … decorate the tree
6. Fa la la la la Factor: 4 candy canes. Creative arrangements, unique instrumentation and perfectly blended voices define this Christmas disc.
Andrew Peterson: "Andrew Peterson Presents: Behold the Lamb of God: the True Tale of the Coming of Christ"
1. Ratio of originals to covers: 9:3
2. Track You’ll Be Humming Long After the CD Stops: “Deliver Us” — You’ll be humming it not so much because to bob your head to but because of the haunting music and lyrics telling of Israel’s cry for deliverance from the Egyptians.
3. Fun Facts: Andrew has put on a Nashville Christmas concert (and before that a tour) showcasing the songs with various guests, including Phil Keaggy, Alison Krauss, Jill Phillips, Fernando Ortega, for the last four years (including this year).
4. Vibe: Although an electric guitar, bass and drums find their way into some songs, this music is definitely of the folk persuasion.
5. Listen While You … take a road trip to grandma’s
6. Fa la la la la Factor: 5 candy canes — There hasn’t been a more equally creative and well-made project in years.
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