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Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams, Los Lobos, Chicago among top new holiday music releases
By Gary Graff
firstname.lastname@example.org, @GraffonMusic on Twitte
Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019
See more SOUND CHECK
Thanksgiving has come and gone save for the leftovers in the fridge.
Black Friday is a PTSD memory.
Now it's time to get on to the winter holidays in earnest and the music that goes with it.
Certain radio stations have been airing nothing but Christmas songs since, oh, Halloween, and the annual parade of Yule-themed releases has been coming since late September. Suffice to say that if you're left wanting for music to accompany your celebrations, you're just not looking. Or listening.
There's a lot to plow through, of course, but here are a dozen notable sounds of the season the 12 discs of Christmas, if you will that should help deck the halls, trim the trees and light the candles...
Bryan Adams, "Christmas" (UMe): The Canadian rocker delivers a five-song EP of spirited and touching tunes, and the Adams-directed video for "Joe and Mary" is well worth seeking out.
Mariah Carey, "Merry Christmas (Deluxe Anniversary Edition)" (Columbia/Legacy): Yes, it really has been 25 years, and Carey's "All I Want For Christmas" remains the queen of all holiday songs. This set adds even more songs plus live tracks from a 1994 benefit concert.
Chicago, "Chicago Christmas" (Rhino): The brassy troupe's fourth holiday release sports eight originals and three staples, included an updated "Sleigh Ride 2019." Horns a'plenty to go with your horns of plenty.
Judy Collins, "Winter Stories" (Wildflower): Still pure of voice at 80, Collins is joined by Jonas Fjeld and Chatham County Line on this majestic, rootsy set, her first holiday-related release in 25 years.
Rob Halford, "Celestial" (Sony): Judas Priest's frontman rocks the season for a second time, this time with family members brother, sister and nephew and four fresh new tunes in tow.
Keb' Mo', "Moonlight, Mistletoe & You" (Concord): The singer-songwriters first holiday outing is sweet and soulful, adding seven new songs to the seasonal oeuvre along with his stylized take on three staples.
Los Lobos, "Llego Navidad" (Rhino): Great as always, the Grammy Award-winning East L.A. crew offers a pan-American take on the holidays, up to and including the iconic "Feliz Navidad."
Marc Martel, "The Christmas Collection" (The Fuel): One of the Ultimate Queen Celebration's Freddie Mercury stand-ins, and a contributor to "Bohemian Rhapsody," brings his substantial pipes to this 21-song set, with help from May Grant and Michael W. Smith, Plumb, Ron Block from Alison Krauss & Union Station and others.
McCrary Sisters, "A Very McCrary Christmas" (Rounder): Sibling harmonies bring a truly sweet sound to this set of 11 favorites and one new song, and the McCrarys are joined by Shirley Caesar, Alison Krauss, Buddy Miller, Keb' Mo' and more.
Idina Menzel, "Christmas: A Season of Love" (Schoolboy/Decca): The Tony Award winner returns to the holidays for an 18-song celebration that includes a couple nods to Hanukkah, a rendition of "Rent's" "Seasons of Love" and guest appearances by Billy Porter, Josh Gad and Aaron Lohr.
Pentatonix, "The Best of Pentatonix Christmas" (RCA): The title says it all: A capella comfort and joy from the best quintet doing it nowadays.
Josh Rouse, "The Holiday Sounds of Josh Rouse" (Yep Roc): Rouse, who wrote many of these songs while living and celebrating the holidays in Spain, takes a page from Nick Lowe's "Quality Street," presenting slices of life that are sometimes heartwarming, sometimes irreverent but all add a welcome, grounding perspective to the usual madness.
And furthermore ...
"Hanukkah+" (Verve Forecast) delves into the Festival of Lights with Jack Black, HAIM, Flaming Lips, Loudon Wainwright III, Yo La Tengo and others with a "Passover bonus" from Black.
Other new releases of interest:
Jim Brickman, "A Christmas Celebration" (Gaither Music); Celtic Woman, "The Magic of Christmas" (Craft Recordings/Concord); Natalie Cole, "Holly & Ivy" (Craft/Concord); Bing Crosby, "Bing at Christmas" (Decca/UMe); Dallas String Quartet, "A Very Merry Christmas with..." (DSQ); Danny Gokey, "The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Collection" (Sparrow); Dave Koz, "Gifts of the Season" (Just Koz); Lea Michele, "Christmas in the City" (Sony Masterworks); Oak Ridge Boys, "Down Home Christmas" (Lightning Rod); Puss N Boots, "Dear Santa" (Blue Note); Randy Rainbow, "Hey Gurl, It's Christmas" (Broadway); The Seekers, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" (Decca); Various, "Christmas with the Stars and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" (Legacy); Various Artists, "NOW 100 Hits: Christmas" (NOW Music); Various Artists, "NOW That's What I Call Country Christmas" (UMG/Sony); Various Artists, "This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Volume 3" (Brushfire/Universal); Phil Wickham, "Christmas" (Fair Trade Services/Columbia); Robbie Williams, "The Christmas Present" (Columbia)
Stocking Stuffers: New Singles of the Season:
Big Freedia, "Make It Jingle, Part II;" Boyfriend, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch;" Chelsea Cutler, "Mistletoe;" Elevation Worship, "O Come All Ye Faithful;" Tori Kelly, "Angles We Have Heard on High;" Adam Lambert, "Please Come Home for Christmas;" The Lumineers, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home); Ingrid Michaelson and Jason Mraz, "Christmas Valentine;" Liam Payne, "Let It Snow;" Perseveration Hall Jazz Band and Pj Morgan, "Winter Wonderland;" Reik, "Noce de Paz (Silent Night);" Robbie Robertson, "Happy Holidays"; Sting & Shaggy, "Silent Night (Christmas is Coming);" Oliver Wakeman and Rodney Matthews, "In the Bleak Midwinter"
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