2010 Christmas Album Roundup

It's Christmas time, and the seasonal music is prevalent. Check out this year's crop of new music:

Christmas reviews from previous years are also still available. And there's also a special review page for those classic Christmas albums.

James "Kelly Fox!" Davis and a Bunch of Friends
The Best Gift
Be Natural

 Spirited and exuberant, this fine live-recorded collection from James Davis satisfies on every level. The Best Gift features 12 tracks (9 original songs) and mixes up a storm of a celebration, bringing in guest vocalists such as Tanya Blount and Derick Speight as well as saxophone maestro Rob Maletick. Davis brings it all together, making the entire album an enjoyable experience. Look for songs such as "What Is Christmas", "Silver and Go!-old" and "HISstory" to make it to your Christmas playlist.

Aaron Neville
Christmas Prayer
EMI Gospel

 Soulful crooner Aaron Neville steps up with his second Christmas project. With his unmistakeable vocal delivery, Neville is in his element on classics such as "Mary's Boy Child" and "The First Noel". Also given his trademark stamp are "Ave Maria", "Merry Christmas Baby" and "White Christmas". Elegant and oozing with his New Orleans sound, this is a project with appeal to both longtime fans and newcomers to the veteran songster's stylings.

Toronto Mass Choir
A Christmas Gift
Micah Communications Inc.

 Christmas gets the TMC treatment with A Christmas Gift, a 13-track project that features the city's longtime choir mainstays. Traditional songs predominate on the disc, with favourites such as "Joy To The World" (with Peter Moncrieffe up front) , "We Three Kings" and Go Tell It On the Mountain" being highlights. Toronto native Londa Larmond is a welcome and familiar voice on "O Come All Ye Faithful", and Carvin Winans makes an appearance on "Silent Night". There's plenty more to dig into on this project, making it one to spin now and in the years to come.

Naturally 7
Christmas... It's A Love Song

 This acappella force par excellence regenerates their Christmas release from some years back, making the digital-only Christmas... It's a Love Story a real ear-catcher this season. The New York rooted seven-some make the most of their signature "vocal play" sound, rendering mixes and medleys of Christmas classics such as "O Tannenbaum" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing / What Child Is This?". Also freshened up are their version of Pachelbel's Canon, and "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)". Perhaps the snaggiest cut on the set is "Love Story". The group works the gorgeous melody into a Christmas keeper, just like this entire project.

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas
Integrity Music

 "Brooklyn Tab" is no stranger to Christmas music, having released several sets over the years. On their more recent foray into the seasonal set, the established choir lends its sound to a 12-song collection of new material. "Christmas Joy" melds together several familiar melodies in what is ultimately a moving muted mega mix (minus a pulsating beat). On "Amazing Love" the choir offers up vertically-directed worship that could be sung all year long. Other songs of note include "Worship The King", "Sing Hallelujah" and "Mary's Song".

— reviewed by Stan North—

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