Jean Watson - Christmas: Not The Way It Seems

Published Wednesday 17th June 2015
Jean Watson - Christmas: Not The Way It Seems
Jean Watson - Christmas: Not The Way It Seems

STYLE: MOR / Soft Pop
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
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.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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