Wow! The Christmas season is actually here again! It doesn’t seem like long aga I was typing out my reviews for last year’s projects! I think something happened to the US Postal Service as I received far fewer Christmas project this year – only five by Thanksgiving. I will continue reviewing projects as I get them, but for your holiday listening pleasure, this year’s noteworthy Christmas projects include:Do You See What I see? – Todd Agnew
Do You See What I see? is another great new holiday blend by Scott Wesley Br… er, I mean, Todd Agnew. Agnew’s bold Christmas initiative includes nine original works by Agnew which eloquently tell the Christmas story anew. The CD features several of Agnew’s talented friends and such moving lyrics as “God has give us His Son/But why must he ask me for mine?” (“Sleep Well, Elizabeth’s Lullaby.”) The rousing finale “In the First Light/”Do You Hear What I Hear?” is worth the cost of the project just to hear the spine-tingling blending of the vocals of Christy Nockles, Shelly Jennings, Michael O’Brien and Agnew. Even thought I still think he sounds eerily like Scott Wesley Brown, this project cemented me as a fan of Todd Agnew’s strong vocals, especially on songs like “Did You Know?”
The Ultimate Christmas Collection – Various
The Ultimate Christmas Collection begins with MercyMe’s richly orchestrated “Joy to the World” and before moving smoothly into a contemporary rendering of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Followed by newer songs and more rockin’ fare like Phil Wickham’s “Messiah,” the project mixes in the gentle strains of PCD’s “Welcome to Out World.” I didn’t know what to expect and I got the unexpected – a palatable blend of rock songs alternating with more traditional carols mixed with new classics like “Strange Way to Save the Word” (4HIM) and “Breath of Heaven” (Sara Groves.) This is definitely worth a listen.
Christmas with Matthew Ward – Matthew Ward
Before Amy, Michael, Sandi or MercyMe, there was 2nd Chapter of Acts, and I wasn’t sure if Matthew Ward could live up to his glory days in the 1970s with his latest project, appropriately called Christmas with Matthew Ward. I needn’t have worried. Matthew still has the versatile, distinctive voice that makes listening to this project such a pleasure. Comprised almost entirely of Christmas mainstays, this project would be a worthy addition to any holiday collection with such beautiful selections as “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
Snow – Go Fish
The Go Fish project Snow combines tight harmonies and pop-rock music that is sure to please the younger set. this raucous mix of Christmas classics like “Joy to the World” and “The Little Drummer Boy” and a couple of new tunes is loud, funny, and carries a strong message for today’s youth. Not one of my personal favorites, but then I am an unabashedly biased lover of traditional Christmas music. For those who love new, contemporary Christmas music, this will fit the bill!
Christmas Can’t Be Very Far Away – Curt Collins
Curt Collins three-song Christmas CD, Christmas Can’t Be Very Far Away includes “Joy to the World,” “Christmas Time Is Here” and the wistful “Christmas Can’t Be Very Far Away,” a beautiful song that showcases Curt’s voice nicely. The project is too short and left me wanting more! I would like to hear a full Christmas album from Collins.
December 7, 2006: Today I found a yellow card placed in my post office box dated “November 28.” When I turned it in at the counter, I received 11 envelopes of different sizes, postmarked between November 21 and November 28. This late delivery included 7 Christmas books and CDs I had intended to review in November. One of the boxes had the date “November 24” written on it indicating the date that notification of that package was to have been left in my box. I received no notice until today when I receieved 11 misplaced envelopes. If we missed reviewing your project this year, take it up with the United States Postal Service. I check my postal box every day.
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