Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Christmas Songs

Okay, let me admit. When you think of Christmas, the name "Bob Dylan" doesn't usually come to mind. He grew up Jewish, had a series of records in the late seventies/early eighties that may have been so-called "Christian," but still, "Bob Dylan" and "Christmas" don't seem to go together. Music of this sorts is to be sung by those with the voice of a soprano from the likes of Mariah Carey and others more vocally talented. But Bob Dylan? Most would say "no way."

Well, I'm here to tell you that "yes!" Bob Dylan can sing Christmas music and he does on his 2009 release "Christmas in the Heart." Here, you'll hear the classic fare like "Here Comes Santa Clause,"and "Winter Wonderland." But you'll also hear the more worshipful stuff too: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "O, Come All Ye Faithful," O Little town of Bethlehem,"- to name a few. And he does it with an assortment of backing vocals from the "sopranos" that can hit the notes that Dylan can't, making for a fun and pleasant listen.

All in all, fifteen songs makeup the entirety of Christmas in the Heart. And after listening for the last two years, it's grown on me as one of my favorites. Maybe it's the scratchy voice trying to sing those songs that have been sung so-well for so-long. Maybe it's the sheer beauty of hearing a sound you won't hear on commercial radio. Whatever it is, it offers a measure of enjoyment that you may not find anywhere else. Check it out! And by the way, royalties from the album (100 %) go to help a variety of hunger organizations, one of which is Feeding America - a ministry that our church works with on a regular basis.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Songs For Christmas

As you may have noticed, the season of Christmas music is upon us. And as always, many noteworthy artists have released something NEW to get us through the holidays. Still, for better or worse, it's the classics that we seem to hear the most - year after year. While these so-called "classics" prevail on most radio, there's some great releases out there that typically fly below the radar. Check back often as I'll be revealing some of my favorites in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. One of my personal favorites is found below.

Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas

Comprised of 42 songs and 5 discs, Stevens has created what I would call a "modern-day classic." At various points, it's fun, witty, contemplative and worshipful. While released in 2006 as a complete package, Stevens originally released these over several years as gifts to his family and friends over the holidays. Now, they're a gift to you and I and are well-worth a listen. Featuring original and some classics too, Stevens has put together a quirky, eclectic and yet, an often beautiful release.