STYLE: MOR / Soft Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 153472-22512 LABEL: Jax Distribution FORMAT: Digital Only Album
Reviewed by Chris Webb
Jean is a Michigan-based singer and violinist and this is her sixth album and second Christmas offering. Most of the carols are played traditionally with few embellishments to the original tune or, despite well-known producer Billy Smiley in the control booth, originality in the arrangements. Piano, guitar, bass and drums are Jean's main accompaniment with her own expressive violin playing swirling in and out of the melodies, which does add extra texture and provides a fine foil to her pure mezzo-soprano voice. The 10 carols are a mix of six well and four lesser known, including "Not The Way It Seems" and "Lo How A Rose". One song is repeated, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" the first time played as a duet by Jean and guitar maestro Phil Keaggy, and the second with the full band. The duet is the better version with the interplay between voice, violin and Phil's sparkling playing (acoustic and electric) providing a sound as fine as a church bell ringing out good news across a valley on a clear summer's day. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "O Holy Night" feature alongside the less frequently performed, of which "Pat A Pan" proffers a welcome musical variation to the restrained but pleasant renditions of the other perennial favourites. Considering the endless flood of Christmas music albums it should be said that this collection lacks anything to make it stand out from other seasonal releases.
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