Christmas is here again!
I say that as if you needed my affirmation to tell you that Christmas is here.
As always this wonderful season we shall all falls back on some wonderful Christmas family traditions. Regardless of our different Christmas traditions a few things are constant – Jesus is celebrated across the globe, Christmas decorations are everywhere illuminating the darkest of nights, and millions of people listen to festive Christmassy music.
Christmas music never gets trite despite the fact that year-in-year-out we get recycled versions (renditions) of old Christmas carols re-released by a different voices and artists. That’s not to say we don’t get original scores of Christmas tunes or carols every now and then, but the bad aspect is that new Christmas themed songs usually have a tough time sticking.
Whether the tunes are new or old we love them nonetheless, and today I am going to spotlight 5 Christmas Albums Released This Year Which You Should totally cop for yourself or for your loved ones.
1. Kim Walker Smith’s – “When Christmas Comes”
Kim Walker Smith is queen of spontaneous worship (in my books), all her projects both solo and the ones with Jesus Culture are always gold. Kim has a remarkable voice, not forceful but efficacious. In this Christmas album the singer takes traditional Christmas carols like ‘Silent Night”, “The First Noel”, O Come All Ye Faithful” , etc. and makes it her own. She performs each song as if she is performing at a Jesus Culture concert.
I must confess on first listen I wasn’t blown away by “When Christmas Comes” because I had boxed in my expectation, but if you listen as a Jesus Culture fan who is familiar with the arrangement and sound of the band then you will have an enjoyable time with it. Kim did a good job and anyone familiar with Kim Walker Smith should get this album, but if you have never heard of her then I suggest you pass on this one and start with her “Still Believe” album. The album nostalgically peers into Walker-Smith’s Christmastime with her 17 favorites of all newly-recorded classics and sacred carols, plus one new song, “Tell Me the Story,” written by Anthony Skinner. From cinematic, grand orchestral backdrops to plaintive folk-acoustic stylings and an occasional bluesy flair, all the tracks on the new album feature Kim’s powerful, soulful voice.
2. Michael W. Smith & Friends “The Spirit of Christmas”
Veteran Christian music artist, Michael W. Smith, joins forces with some friends to bake us some musical Christmas cookies. The record is a meeting of Smith’s all-star musician pals, so it houses tunes which will make you feel all warm and Christmassy. He features an all-star lineup of guests – Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Bono and Michael McDonald.
Smith’s recent live performances with Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town at CMA Country Christmas helped solidify a Top 4 position on the Billboard Holiday Albums chart. “The Spirit of Christmas” will remain there this week in the peak of Christmas shopping season amongst Michael Buble, Idina Menzel and Pentatonix. The Christmas project broke into the Top 10 Overall Albums on iTunes, helping secure a No. 16 spot on the Billboard 200 and a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Christian/Gospel Albums charts this week.
3. Peter Furler Featuring David Ian “Christmas”
Peter Furler and David Ian’s Christmas project is my best this season. I love the spoken word tracks, as well as the lay-back feel of the record. This is a new direction for the founder of Newsboys, Peter Furler, as this diverts from the sound which the singer is known for.
Furler collaborates with jazz instrumentalist and arranger, David Ian, to assemble a unique listening experience with the new recording, showcasing vintage sounds of the holiday season from ancient past to present. The unexpected duo set out to create a vintage, classic and meditative album that hearkened back to the jazz sounds of Vince Guaraldi and the minimalist era of Miles Davis. Using singers and musicians from around the world, including from America, Armenia, Lebanon, Russia and South Africa, Furler and Ian also incorporate traditional orchestration as well as exotic instruments like the Duduk (indigenous Armenian wind instrument) to create an unconventional and introspective Christmas album.
Furler also delivers two spoken word tracks accompanied by Ian’s contemplative piano, string and chamber arrangements. These spoken word tracks include the prophesies of the birth of Christ, as well as the Luke account of the Christmas story. They offer a beautiful reminder of the meaning of Christmas and the narrative for all the tracks on the album.
4. Various Artist – ‘Christmas Goes Gospel: ‘Tis the Season’
This one is for fans of urban Gospel music. This record is a new compilation of Christmas classics which undergoes a Gospel transformation to complete Rendezvous Music’s festive, yet spiritual album.
The collection features Gospel music’s hottest voices as they welcome in the season. The 12-track album is filled with Christmas favorites including “O Holy Night,” “Carol of The Bells,” and “Silent Night,” along with Rendezvous Music Recording Artist and Gospel and Jazz hit-maker Jonathan Butler’s new recording, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” The compilation is a true gem that is bound to make this Christmas extra special.
5. Various Artists – ‘A Very Relevant Christmas Vol.4’
Everyone loves freebies, especially at Christmas. In what Relevant Magazine calls a “gift” they issue out a free download of a compilation album called A Very Relevant Christmas Vol.4. This is a fourth of its kind and samples some brilliant Christmas tunes by different artists; from The Rend Collective to Young Oceans. The diversity of the collection is such a big win coupled with the fact that the album is free!
So what are you waiting for? Head Over to Relevant to download it.