STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 177757-29053 LABEL: Fair Trade Services FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2019-11-01
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
It's been over a decade since Tennessee-based singer/songwriter Sara Groves last released a Christmas album and this follow up to 2008's 'O Holy Night' ensures that the wait has been well and truly worth it. Fans of Groves' considered delivery - complete here with trademark tender vocal performance and a sensitive musical backing masterminded by producer John Mark Nelson - will know that the theme of advent is in safe hands and, whilst there is still that hint of melancholy that permeates through this experienced artist's work, there is an expectant joy about proceedings which sits perfectly between the bah humbug and tacky tinsel extremes of the season to allow the listener to search out the real meaning of Christmas. Much like her last full album, Groves takes a handful of familiar and arguably overdone classics and applies new melodies with "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" being cases in point here. In less adept hands, attempting to replace those matchless traditional melodies would be a moot task but Groves succeeds in adding poignancy and intimacy to these old carols without offending lovers of the originals and even turns that old secular chestnut "Winter Wonderland" into something undeniably spiritual. More recognisable are the slightly less augmented but still innovative readings of "Angels From The Realms Of Glory" and "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" whilst new songs likes "We Wait" and "Just Like They Said" capture the essence of the nativity with perfection.
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