One Wintry Night Delivers a Dramatic Christmas

Artist:  David Phelps
Title:  One Wintry Night
Label:  Word Records

One Wintry Night is billed as a concept album, designed to take “listeners on an inspiring musical journey that explores all the joy and wonder that is Christmas.”  And it does follow a thematic flow, the one constant being David Phelps’ signature powerhouse vocals. I would describe this project also as somewhat theatrical as well, perhaps related to its concept approach.

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” opens with a dramatic hush , the choir’s harmonies interplaying beautifully with Phelps. It is followed by the Broadway-ready “The Singer,” again powerfully orchestrated and arranged. There is a lot going on in the multi-faceted, theatrical “Hallelujah!” but things drop down to a softer level with Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and the ethereal “Lully, Lullay.”

A quietly lovely piano accompanies Phelps’ soft vocals on standout track “Away in a Manger,” the emotion building to an expressive crescendo of beauty, backed sweetly by a children’s choir. Things take an upbeat turn with pop rocker story song “If Everyone Believed” bouncy with bells, but it is followed, interestingly, by “If Christmas Never Came,” painting a much bleaker picture. “O Holy Night” starts simply and quietly, but builds again with a big wallop of drama and power. Phelps serves up a fresh arrangement of “Hark the Herald,” and the vocal arrangements of power pop track “One King” are nice as well.

One Wintry Night closes out on an upbeat note, with the pop rocker “Santa Claus Tonight.” If you like your Christmas music big, on the dramatic side, this is the one for you.

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