New Christmas Music for 2009
Christmas with a Twist
By Bethany Porter and Laura Young
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Each of these albums can be described as being original and unique. They will each take you on an aural journey you will not forget!
Straight No Chaser
Image courtesy of Atlantic Records
This 10-man a cappella group first formed at Indiana University in 1996. Though the original members are in their 30s now and well past their school-boy days they continue to produce the type of entertaining, feel-good music that makes up Christmas Cheers.
What does it sound like? Lively, energetic, and wholly original this album is a fun departure from ballads and heavy instrumentals. Each of the guys' voices are on display here and they melt together beautifully on each track.
Perfect for playing anytime you need to smile and forget all the holiday stress.
Stand out tracks: "Hey Santa," "The 12 Days of Christmas"
Soloist: Lachanze, J. Robert Spencer, Mig Ayesa, and choir of various vocalists
Handel's Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise
Image courtesy of Sony Entertainment
This album puts a new spin on a holiday classic. Handel's much loved and often sampled oratorio, Messiah, is re-interpreted with a contemporary rock 'n' roll sound. The creators of the album and the live show, which goes on tour in November 2010, updated Handel's original work for both orchestra and vocal elements to create an adrenaline fueled, rock worthy new sound.
What does it sound like? This is not your average holiday album. A full orchestra and complete rock band jams behind the soaring vocals provided by three soloists and a backup choir. If you're craving something out of the ordinary to listen to this season grab this album.
Perfect for playing: while rocking around the Christmas tree, decorating, and dancing.
Standout tracks: "He is My Son," "Comfort Ye," "Hallelujah"
Image courtesy of Razor and Tie
Popular pop/rock singer Michael McDonald, a former member of the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and Goldstar has combined his favorite songs from his two previous Christmas albums with a few new tracks to form this bluesy collection of holiday tunes.
What does it sound like? McDonald's signature soulful, husky baritone voice packs power throughout this album. The upbeat songs are lively and heavy on style while the ballads give out a soothing, soft-rock vibe. A wide array of instrumental backup including guitar, piano, drums, saxophones, bass, and horns give each song a full, robust foundation.
Perfect for playing: during a holiday dinner party.
Standout tracks: "That's What Christmas Means to Me," "White Christmas/Winter Wonderland," "Wexford Carol"
Chip Davis/Mannheim Steamroller
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection
To celebrate 25 successful years of music, producer/composer Chip Davis presents fans with a collection of Mannheim Steamroller's most loved holiday songs. When Davis recorded his first holiday album in 1984 he was told a Christmas-themed CD would never sell. Little did his critics know, this multi-platinum selling musician was destined to win over merry-makers around the globe.
What does it sound like? This collection contains all your favorite Manheim Steamroller Christmas music in one spot. You'll hear the same modern, refreshingly unique mixture of electronic, instrumental, and vocal elements that Davis has always produced. This album is heavily instrumental so don't expect to sing along, just listen and enjoy.
Perfect for playing: during a holiday cocktail party.
Standout tracks: "Faeries," "Above the Northern Lights," "Messengers of Christmas"
Gold and Green
Image courtesy of Universal Music
Country sensation Sugarland delivers an eclectic mix of rich ballads and playful tunes on this album that will add some down-home flavor to your usual holiday playlist. The fresh new songs combined with the duo's hybrid sound set the album apart from the rest of this season's offerings.
What does it sound like? Lead songstress Jennifer Nettles shows off her powerful voice and range throughout this album. The songs are genre crossing, sampling both pop and contemporary country and Nettles reigns in her usual twang to produce vocals guaranteed to impress--whether you're a country fan or not. The holiday spirit shines through every heartfelt selection and the talented duo live up to their crowd-pleasing reputation.
Perfect for playing: while decorating the tree.
Standout tracks: "Coming Home," "City of Silver Dreams," "Gold and Green"