New Christmas Music for 2009
Big Voices, Big Sound
By Bethany Porter and Laura Young
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This big-time holiday calls for some big-time voices. This year a slew of big name pop vocalists are using their talents to spread some Christmas spirit.
Harry Connick, Jr.
What a Night! A Christmas Album
This great album is full of upbeat renditions of Christmas faves by the Southern troubadour known for his jazzy, funky flair.
What does it sound like? Expect all you know and love about Harry Connick, Jr.--big band blowouts, and spirited hand-clapping versions of amazing Christmas tunes alongside slower standards expertly crooned by the dashing Connick, Jr.
Perfect for playing when you want to banish the Christmas blues.
Standout tracks: A particularly soulful version of "Please Come Home for Christmas," and a adorable duet of "Winter Wonderland" featuring Connick, Jr.'s daughter, Sarah Kate.
Joy to the World
Only the biggest and the boldest orchestration is a match for Faith Hill's booming, striking vocals on this, her first Christmas album. It features an original song titled "A Baby Changes Everything."
What does it sound like? This album is full of lush sounds and beautiful solos from this country superstar. While her voice is powerful, it's full of delicate emotion--perfect for songs that demand both, such as the title track "Joy to the World."
Perfect for playing when you want to bolster the level of Christmas spirit at your party.
Standout tracks: "A Baby Changes Everything," "O Come, All Ye Faithful" which shows the softer, sensitive side of Hill.
Tony Bennett featuring the Count Basie Big Band
A Swingin' Christmas
Christmas tunes + Tony Bennett's timeless voice = holiday music perfection. Bennett swinging style is complimented by the excellent Count Basie Big Band.
What does it sound like? This album seems ready-made for family members and friends who love to dance. There are plenty of big brass band jams to tickle the freewheeling feet of those who love to let loose and boogey, as well as plenty of slower numbers for those who prefer to dance cheek-to-cheek with ones they love.
Perfect for playing when you're ready for your guests to cut a rug.
strong>Standout tracks: "My Favorite Things," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (featuring Antonia Bennett), "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
Modern technology has afforded the opportunity of some of the biggest female pop and country stars to record this collection of "duets" with Elvis Presley. Featuring the vocals of Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Leann Rimes, Amy Grant, and Olivia Newton-John, to name a few. Bonus tracks include remix, premastered versions of "The First Noel," "If I Get Home on Christmas Day," and "Winter Wonderland."
What does it sound like? The producers of the album have decided to steer clear of any dramatic reinterpretations of these familiar holiday songs--the renditions stay true to Elvis's jivey, rock 'n' roll style. Many of the tracks sound cobbled together, with Elvis and the female songstresses switching off every other verse, making the duets sound a bit unnatural. Out of all the songs, the duet with Anne Murray of "Silver Bells" works the most seamlessly--perhaps because Murray's mature voice better matches the King's velvety baritone than some of the younger-sounding singers on the album. But if you are a fan of Elvis, and like the addition of the contemporary voices, this collection of Christmas classics will certainly tickle your fancy.
Perfect for playing while everyone is ripping open their presents.
Standout tracks: "Silver Bells" (with Anne Murray), "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" (with Wynonna Judd)
Read on to hear about the new holiday albums from some of the biggest names in New Age and Adult Contemporary music.