Songs of Christmas {Album Review}

ALBUM TITLE: Songs of Christmas
ALBUM ARTIST: Gaither & the Homecoming Friends
FAVORITE TRACKS: Jesus the Light of the World, Jingle Bell,Go Tell, Mary, Did You Know?
Recently, I had the privilege to review Gaither Music’s two-volume Women of Homecoming Album. Not only me but my whole family is really enjoying it. If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, you are missing a lot! Now, I have in this post another Gaither Music offering, and this is very timely for the coming season. It’s their latest Christmas compilation album called “Songs of Christmas”, comprising 12 gorgeous and well recorded Christmas hymns featuring Bill & Gloria Gaither and their Homecoming friends.

The songs that are recorded in this album are covers and remake of most-loved Christmas songs of many generations. I am certain of this that this new covers will be enjoyed and loved by generations to come. The album was introduced by a lovely cover of Isaac Watts’ signature hymn Joy To The World. I’ve listened to countless covers of this song, and this is one of my favorites; its simplicity and elegance make it special.Another beautiful cover is Florida Boy’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas; very masculine, harmonious and jazzy. After this, comes the folky Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. Ben Speer’s low vocal compliments to the choir and gives a sweet country theme—it’s a complimentary song to Jake Hess’ C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S.
Jesus the Light of the World, Jingle Bell, and Go Tell are someof the memorable covers that are worth mentioning. The Hopper’s Jingle Bell is an outstanding remake, fast in tempo and dynamic in instrumentation. Another stand out is the elegant and well-orchestrated Oh Holy Night. The song is very ethereal and every inch of the song is perfection; so momentous and soothing just like the peaceful moments with Silver Bell that is thoroughly engaging.

In a powerful and driving violin plus piano introduction, Mark Lowry delivered expressively his rendition of Mary, Did You Know? The atmosphere built by the instrumentation jives perfectly to the thick emotion brought out by Mark, it’s an amazing worship hymn. The Christmas Song was also given an elegant jazz makeover sung by the Gaither Vocal Band. Of course there’s no question with the vocals—which is perfectly blended. It’s just wonderful to listen, it’s very relaxing.

To end the album, a stunning acapella rendition of Away In a Manger can be heard, but it is just an introduction to the entire song. After the audience’s applause, the choir restarted it in the middle having the same atmosphere of the first song Jingle Bell.Thus far, every revival that Gaither has released (not only in this album), I must say is better than the original, owing mostly to their very rich vocals and creative musicianship.

Gaither Homecoming is the name applied to a series of videos, music recordings and concerts, which are organized, promoted and usually presented by Christian music songwriter and impresario Bill Gaither. To date, the Gaither Homecoming title is applied to more than 60 videos, dozens of music recordings, and an annual concert tour that drew more than half a million fans in 2004 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). On February 19, 1991, the Gaither Vocal Band had just wrapped up a recording session in aNashville, Tennessee, working on an album called Homecoming, which featured many of the great voices of southern gospel music: The Speersthe GatlinsJake HessThe CathedralsHoward & Vestal Goodman,Buck RamboEva Mae LefevreJames BlackwoodHovie Lister, Jim Hill, and J.D. Sumner & The Stamps. After the session, the artists stayed around to chat, swap stories and sing old standards around the piano. The impromptu session was recorded on video and later published. The recording was so well received that Gaither began a series of professionally-produced videos with larger gatherings of gospel musicians.

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Disclosure: I received free review copy of the album in exchange of my honest review.

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