STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 153523-22694 LABEL: Jesus Culture Music ELE2069D FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2014-11-17 RRP: £8.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Reviewers can't help but bring their personal tastes and preferences to the reviewing process but have to be particularly careful that such tastes and preferences haven't hardened into blinkered prejudice. Recognising my long held aversion to Christmas songs of the Santa and roasting chestnuts variety I approached this album warily. Sure, there were well loved carols like "O Holy Night", "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "The First Noel" here - songs that elegantly portray that most wonderful of wonders, the incarnation - but there were also such grizzly Yuletide evergreens as "Let It Snow" and, even worse, "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer". So I am relieved to report that such is the quality of Kim's rich, majestic vocals that even when singing Tin Pan Alley banalities the effect is bearable while producer Jeremy Edwardson has avoided the two major pitfalls dragging down most Christmas albums with arrangements that aren't cheap and cheerful nor swamped in an excess of strings and sleigh bells. In fact, the opener, the voice-and-acoustic "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus" leading into two tried and tested hymnal favourites "Silent Night" and "Angels We Have Heard On High" makes for a God-glorifying start to the album. As her Jesus Culture recordings attest, Kim possesses the finest voice in today's modern worship arena. On 'When Christmas Comes' the San Diego-based singer has demonstrated something that Al Green and Russ Taff once showed with their Christmas albums of years ago - that when you have truly exceptional vocal skills you can sing almost anything (even songs about shiny nosed reindeers) and make it enjoyable.
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Kim Walker-Smith's latest full-length album, When Christmas Comes, rings in the season packed with 17 Christmas classics. Drawing from hits such as I'll Be Home For Christmas and Winter Wonderland to the sacred carols including The First Noel and Away In A Manger, Kim powerfully delivers a timeless collection that will no doubt become a household staple for years to come.
Joined by acclaimed producer Jeremy Edwardson (Michael W Smith, Kari Jobe, Jesus Culture) and backed by a full string ensemble, Kim's unforgettable, soulful voice soars over a sea of vibrant, cinematic soundscape. Fronting the Jesus Culture Band and known as one of the most influential worship leaders of our time, Kim Walker-Smith delivers this Christmas collection in a way reminiscent of the classic renditions we've come to love while offering a new, fresh and creative sound that's really something all her own.