If you are looking for some Christmas music to remind you again of the wonderful good news of Christ and his birth, here are some of our "must-have" recently released Christmas albums. We have included a snippet of our review and a link to the original article for each entry.
5. T. Graham Brown "Christmas With T. Graham Brown"
T. Graham Brown celebrates a few firsts this year in 2015. Despite having recorded 14 albums, scored 3 #1 hits, 8 Top 10 hits, and more than 20 charted singles, 2015 marks the first time ever Brown received a Grammy Award nomination. Earlier in year, Brown was nominated for Grammy's Best Gospel Roots album for his Gospel project "Forever Changed." A few months later, it was announced was recording his first ever Christmas album. Finally, his career first Christmas album is upon us. Just like all his previous 13 albums, Brown's vocals are always a highlight. No one in any genre of music has that unmistakable gravel voice of his. When he rocks, he rips and roars. And when he croons a ballad, there's a bluesy gravitas that resonate so much with our souls; a fleet few singers can achieve. Again on "Christmas with T. Graham Brown," the "Hell and High Water" singer doesn't fail to impress.
4. TaRanda Greene "Spirit of Christmas"
"Spirit of Christmas" is TaRanda's sophomore release for StowTown Records. Last year, her debut for the imprint, "Stronger" was indeed a formidable release. If in doubt, check out her stunning rendition of "This is Where Amazing Happens." "Spirit of Christmas" again finds Wayne Haun on the helm. The album starts off with the richly orchestrated "Still Still Still" which magically transports us back into those 50s-styled sepia-toned movies where music had a movingly romantic ambiance. And this perfectly segues us in into a dynamic performance of "O Holy Night," which has already become a signature hit in TaRanda's repertoire.
3. Carolyn Arends "Christmas: The Story of Stories"
If you have been to church long enough, you would know all the overwrought clichéd answers to the standard religious questions people often asked. One of them being: what's the meaning of Christmas? It's not so much about Santa, his reindeers and his sleigh. Rather Jesus is the reason for the season. Though the answer is spot on; it's so superficially and thoughtlessly recycled that the varnish of how the truth impacts us has long been eradicated. Carolyn Arends, being a gifted and seminal writer herself (in fact she has just released her new book "Theology in Aisle Seven"), is not into trite platitudes. Rather, these are songs with shafts deep enough that they will keep us mediating. They are acerbic enough that they pierce the soul to get us to worship God with fire again. And they are piquant enough that when Arends sings about the little details of life, we can't help but nod our heads with a smile expressed across our faces.
2. Kenny Rogers "Once Again, It's Christmas"
Released via Warner Brothers Nashville, Once Again It's Christmas takes elements of orchestrated jazz-pop, rustic country, and the finger-snapping fun of Gospel and presents what is a top-notched and classy event. After all these years, what is still the drawing card of any Kenny Rogers album is his ear for songs with melodies that transcend time. This album is no different. Rogers showcases his mettle for a great song with the title cut "Once Again It's Christmas." Sounding like it's made for the soundtrack of a Disney movie, "Once Again It's Christmas" is a beautiful song awash with gorgeous strings and saxophone as Rogers croons his way through the nostalgia of the season. The same amorous feeling is conveyed with the medley "Here It is Christmas" and "Baby It's Cold Outside." Rogers' duet with country songbird Jennifer Nettles is stunning.
1. Chris Tomlin "Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship"
Chris Tomlin's Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship is the go to album as far as congregational worship over the festive season is concerned. Though the market is saturated with seasonal outputs every year and though it's almost mandatory for every artist to release a Christmas album somewhere along his/her career, few are the Christmas songs made for congregational worship. Tomlin whose pen has supplied the vocabulary and scores of countless worship services with staples such as "Love Ran Red," "Our God, "How Great is Our God," he is back with his festive debut Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship. The titular is most revealing, this is an 11-track record made for the service of the church. This is arguably the CD's chief strength.