Music Notes - Christmas Edition
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With Christmas right around the corner, many of us are wondering which CD's we need to dust off and get back out from last year. You could easily find yourself with quite a task to figure out just which ones to get back out or which ones to check out for the first time. So let's take a look at some Christmas music, as well as some full Christmas CD's. 

The biggest debate in Christmas music is new Christmas songs verses traditional Christmas songs. As I program music for a Christian radio station, I have that same question to answer, and I can say that it really is a tough one. What I have found is that a combination of the two actually makes sense for most people. The fact is that "Away in a Manger," "Silent Night," "The Little Drummer Boy," and "O Come All Ye Faithful" are great songs; there is no replacing them. However, I also cannot imagine Christmas music in 2009 without "Gloria" by Mercy Me, "This Baby" by Steven Curtis Chapman, or "He Made A Way In A Manger" by Candy Pearson Shelton. So, I think in this day and age it is just a matter of finding the right mix of new and traditional Christmas songs. 

If you were limited to three Christmas albums to listen to this year, I would have to say go with Steven Curtis Chapman's Christmas is All in the Heart, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra's Timeless Christmas, and of course Mercy Me's The Christmas Sessions. Let us take a quick look at all three of those. 

Steven Curtis Chapman's Christmas album Christmas is All in the Heart combines newer and older Christmas songs in such an amazing way.  Steven Curtis has a remarkable, down-home way of singing these songs, and provides the listener with a laid-back way of enjoying twelve Christmas tracks. The acoustic guitar is clearly present in most of the songs on this CD. I would say the highlight on this album is "This Baby." This song describes the early days of Jesus and how he went through many of the same things as little babies do still today-only this baby had come to change the world. What a message and what an honest look at what Christmas is all about. 

Denver and the Mile High Orchestra's CD Timeless Christmas is probably the most fun Christmas album I have heard. For the most part it is upbeat and exciting. Their version of "Joy to the World" is incredible. They are one of the few groups that can take a song that you have heard performed 1000 times by probably 50 different artists and make it special. They have a horn-driven sound that sets them apart from most of the rest of the Christmas music that you normally hear. 

Mercy Me also has a pretty fantastic collection of twelve songs inside The Christmas Sessions. This has all of the qualities of a great album: skilful songwriting, strong vocals, and fabulous instrumentation. This CD, like the other two, has a combination of new Christmas songs and traditional Christmas songs. "Joseph's Lullaby," one of the new tunes, is sung from the viewpoint of Joseph. It is such a touching song and the beauty of it is that it is written from a perspective that most of us do not think about. Mercy Me always comes through with great albums, and this one is no different.

Christmas music sure is great isn't it? There are a lot of great Christmas albums out there; we have merely highlighted three of the best. Check them out and enjoy. 


Justin Wade

Music Director

J103 Radio