The holiday season is mere days away from being in full-swing. Naturally, Christmas music is about to make its annual grand entrance into the commercial spaces of the world. Thankfully, for holiday junkies such as myself, the music is also fully available for at-home pleasure. Adding to this year's beautiful music is the living legend herself, Amy Grant. This year, she's bringing us something special with Tennessee Christmas.
Amy is no stranger to Christmas music, as this is her fourth Christmas album, but with each album we get a different facet of the artist. Tennessee Christmas embraces Grant's southern roots while gleaning some of the "classic" traditions of the crooners of long past. The album is a combination of sacred and secular, yet overall reverent of the season. For fans of Grant's pop-radio sound, "To Be Together," "Melancholy Christmas," and "Another Merry Christmas" will definitely fill that need. Continuing in that thread, she gives listeners some standard romantic holiday hits, like "Baby It's Cold Outside," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," and "Christmas for You and Me;" keeping the album balanced with sweetness and cheer. As a matter of fact, a majority of the album is kept very lighthearted yet there is such respectful care for each song that the listener can really feel the genuine gift that Grant has put forth.
"Joy to the World" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" might possibly be two of the most powerful Christmas songs ever written, and Amy Grant does not disappoint with these two beautiful renditions. They are not jazzed up with tinsel and frills, but are rather kept extremely traditional. As someone who tends to be bothered by alternate arrangements of songs that have stood the test of time, this is very much appreciated.
As a special nod to the crooners who recorded some of the greatest Christmas music standards, Amy occasionally chimes in with a story about her family or a little reminder of what the season is about. Some listeners might not enjoy this as much, but for this reviewer, I love it. Her occasional monologues give the album a personal, sweet touch and make it obvious that this album is a labor of love.
Christmas music might seem easy to record and sell to many a listener, however, that could not be further from the truth. Nothing is more disappointing than to hear a beloved artist botch a classic. For such a crime, a lump of coal is the least of their worries. Think about it. Here's the idea: record a song that has already been recorded by a ton of other artists, but make it distinctly in your fashion and style, but don't ruin it. No pressure, right? Thankfully, for Amy Grant, she always makes the holidays better with her music. Thank you, Amy. Merry Christmas.
- Review date: 10/23/16, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com