A CBNmusic Christmas 2008
What better way to celebrate this joyous time than to enjoy the music that makes it so festive. Last year's CBNmusic Christmas was a great mix of holiday favorites and new classics. This year, we have a diverse collection sure to add a spark to your Christmas and remind you of the real reason for the season.
Combining traditional carols such as "Joy to the World" and "Away in a Manger" with original works, Casting Crowns has produced a Christmas CD of gentle music that will stir your heart this holiday season. Peace On Earth is Casting Crowns' first Christmas album and their goal was to create a musical experience that would restore worship to the music of the season. They succeeded. Peace on Earth is a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with both holiness and joy. From the opening cut, a unique rendition of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" to the final orchestral rendition of "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel," Peace on Earth will take you into the Lord’s presence and make you feel like you have truly experienced the wonder that is Christmas. Album Highlight: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" - linda michaels
On their latest album This Glorious Christmas, The Annie Moses Band gives fans a holiday flavor, with a little bit of Celtic, a little bit of jazz, and a small dash of classical Christmas favorites. Lead singer, Annie Wollaver, delivers a very strong vocal performance with her distinct vibrato, and you just can’t get over the fact that you are hearing fantastic musical performances by each member of this highly talented family. Those that are very into instrumentals, especially with strings, will love it. Others may just pick a few favorites for their ipod party shuffle and move on. Album highlights are: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," and "Little Baby" - rebekah wilson
Amy Grant has numerous fan favorites when it comes to Christmas songs. Now many of her best tracks are available together on The Christmas Collection. She kicks off the project with a quirky, frenzied rendition of “Jingle Bells” that is both somewhat annoying and oddly out of place in a collection of her more traditional offerings. However, apart from that, there is much to love on this CD. The album offers some of her most popular Christmas tracks including “Breath of Heaven” and “Grown-Up Christmas List” along with four new songs. Her new release, “I Need a Silent Night,” has quickly become one of my favorites. For fans that already have all of her previous Christmas albums, there is really not much new ground covered here. But if you don’t, this is a great collection of Christmas tunes to get you into the holiday spirit. Album Highlights: “Breath of Heaven” and “I Need a Silent Night” - belinda elliott
Sara Groves’ light, airy vocal stylings offer a holy hush of peace and understatement during this sacred season. Groves particularly shines with her masterful new renditions of “O Holy Night” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” which breathe new depth and vitality into these classic carols. You will enjoy revisiting the original lyrics while finding yourself never missing the original melodies to these two tunes. Plus, her original “It’s True” and “As If That Were Not Enough” (dare I say a hint of some ABBA rhythm elements?) are an enjoyable addition. Her refreshingly comforting musical blend should be enjoyed with a steaming hot beverage and a cozy blanket by the Christmas tree. It’s pure calm. - laura j. bagby
Glory In The Highest is the title of the first Christmas album ever by Shane & Shane. With seven classic Christmas songs included on the record it is sure to be a favorite. The duo unsurprisingly puts their own spin on each song, but you will find that they do not disappoint. And as if seven classics weren’t enough, the album also features three original songs that are just as great as the usual traditional Christmas tunes. This new holiday release simply confirms what many people have known for a while, which is that Shane & Shane are talented men, both when it comes to singing and writing. Album Highlights: "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and "Glory In The Highest" - kimberly a. lilly
You will thoroughly enjoy this young teen trio’s upbeat, pop-style performance of both religious and secular Christmas songs. With great harmonies, caffeinated melodies, creative arrangements, and clear vocal delivery, this group’s positive message is enjoyable in the car, at your desk, or at home. I only wish that the tracks weren’t so tightly structured and predictable. I would love to hear this threesome – Caroline, Jordan, and Carolyne – break loose and color outside the lines more. And, in several cases, I felt like the songs were too short or ended too abruptly, which left me disappointed. However, overall I would say this album is a good pick for young and young-at-heart audiences alike who like to jam. Choice tracks include “Joy to the World,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Silent Night.” - laura j. bagby
Some Christmas songs just aren't meant to be covered by rock bands. The biggest flops: Thousand Foot Krutch's rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock," "Feliz Navidad" by David Crowder Band, and "It's Christmas Time" by KJ-52. There are a few good tracks, but get them from iTunes instead of buying the record. Hawk Nelson's "Gloria" was an interesting track to say the least. The band puts its own spin on the traditional song, turning it into a love song about a girl named Gloria. Album highlights: "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home" by Anberlin, "Love Came Down at Christmas" by Jars of Clay," "Carol of the Bells" by August Burns Red - hannah goodwyn
Callann Lane recently released a Christmas EP and it is quite an album. While it only includes six tracts, the tracks chosen are the perfect ones to help you get in the Christmas spirit. Christmas This Year has a variety of slow and upbeat tempo; most of the classics on the album are flavored with fun Disney-like tunes, while the original tracks are more laid back, relaxing type songs. Lane has a soft child-like voice that is appealing to the ear and ideal for the songs chosen for her album. I believe this is an album that young kids will absolutely love, for more reasons than one, and an album that adults can appreciate because of its simplicity. It is available exclusively on iTunes.com. Album Highlights: "Harmony" and "Let It Snow" - kimberly a. lilly
If you are looking for a perfectly mellow album to put you in the Christmas spirit, then look no more! CCM favorite Fernando Ortega sets out to tackle some of the more obscure Christmas tunes on his new album, Christmas Songs. You will find tracks like "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus," the instrumental "Carol of the Birds" (yes, that’s Birds, not Bells), and "Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella" interwoven with the more traditional "Joy to the World" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." The piano arrangements on the instrumentals are Ortega’s own and are beautifully done, with all of the wistfulness of the 17th century. Listen out for the hymn "Jesus, King of Angels," an outstanding original song and album highlight. - rebekah wilson
The members of BarlowGirl abandon their rock-n-roll roots in favor of a more traditional sound on Home for Christmas. The result is an album that is sure to quickly become a Christmas favorite. The trio offers Christmas classics like “It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” and “O Little Town Of Bethlehem,” with their beautiful voices blending in perfect harmony. They also include a striking original, “Hallelujah (Light Has Come)”. From the slow melodic “What Child Is This?” and “O Come, O come, Emmanuel,” to the upbeat “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and a stunning performance of “Carol of the Bells,” Home for Christmas is a seasonal delight. Add this one to your Christmas list! Album Highlights: “Carol of the Bells,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “Hallelujah (Light Has Come)”. - belinda elliott
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