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Cottrell’s Ring the Bells Overwhelms for the Holidays

  • Andrew Greer
  • 2008 27 Oct
Cottrell’s <i>Ring the Bells</i> Overwhelms for the Holidays

Artist:  Travis Cottrell
Title:  Ring the Bells
Label:  Word Entertainment

Goose bumps-inducing holiday record of the year …

After 10 years of leading worship for Beth Moore’s wildly successful “Living Proof” Bible study events, it is no surprise that Travis Cottrell’s new Christmas collection would incite a reputable buzz among worship ministry personnel across the nation. But expectations aside, listeners will in no way be prepared to be so genuinely moved by Ring the Bells, Cottrell’s first holiday recording.

Christmas music has always been revered for its rich spiritual heritage, but Cottrell supercedes any standard treatment of these distinguished carols, elevating them to a higher place of spiritual emphasis—a testament to his truly unique talent in orchestrating a sensitive set that gives honor where honor is due.

Backed by the London Symphony Orchestra and a magnificent choir, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the impeccably executed “O Holy Night” are swabbed with creative, larger-than-life arrangements that will no doubt be published for church use in the near future.

Another classic, “What Child Is This?” benefits from Cottrell’s beautiful baritone and a mandolin/nylon-string guitar accompaniment. Including the rarely recorded second chorus adds to the simple beauty:  “Nails, spear shall pierce Him through/The cross be borne for me, for you/Hail, hail the word made flesh/The babe, the son of Mary.”

Effortlessly intermingled with standards, half of Ring the Bells is made up of original hymns. The title track highlights the golden-throated Natalie Grant in a feature that perfectly complements Cottrell’s own substantial pipes. “In the First Light” is an orchestral dream, dramatically retelling the Gospel story from the manger to the cross. And “Jesus Saves” is by far the greatest contribution to the record, exclaiming Jesus’ very purpose for being born and the reason why we celebrate so intensely.

If you buy just one holiday record this year, this is it. Ring the Bells is the perfect amalgamation of Cottrell’s artistic abilities and distinct call, which has an overwhelming effect on the listener. Some may call it goose bumps.

You can watch Travis Cottrell music videos at!


© 2008  All rights reserved.  Used with permission. 

**This review first published on October 27, 2008.

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