Get the new album from Free Chapel!

Get the new album from Free Chapel!

JFH Indie Review

JFH Indie Music Spotlight Review

Marc Martel

Marc Martel
The First Noel EP

Street Date: November 24, 2017
Style: Christmas / Pop
Official Site: Official Website
Buy It: iTunes
Buy It: AmazonMP3



Last year, Downhere/Queen vocalist (that may never not be odd) Marc Martel released his first Christmas outing, The Silent Night EP. Though the songs were mostly given the standard treatment, with little experimentation outside of the updated Downhere original "How Many Kings," the EP was solid and enjoyable to listen to. For the second year in a row, Martel and his heavenly pipes are coming together to release some more holiday spirit. The First Noel EP features six more Christmas or Christmas-esque songs for our enjoyment.

The EP starts with perhaps the most appropriate song imaginable. Most people say that the day after Thanksgiving is when you can officially listen to Christmas music (I say they're just catching up). So for those who wait until Black Friday for their Christmas music, you can get started with "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas." An upbeat, slightly jazzy tune, Martel brought along the vocal talents of current tourmate Plumb, who adds another level of cheer to the tune. The cheeriness doesn't last too long, as Martel follows with the classic track "Mary Did You Know?" To add some intrigue to this version, Martel brought along another guest, but this time the guest happens to have co-written the song. Buddy Greene brings his southern gospel charm to the second verse of a song that hypothetically asks Mary if she truly knows who her Son is. The Bible does describe a conversation with Mary and Gabriel, but it's unclear exactly how much he told her about Jesus.

The near epic feel of "Mary Did You Know?" transitions into the warmth of "The Christmas Song," which, once again, enlists the help of a legendary musician. Martel provides all the vocals this time, but the bass, including a quiet bass solo in the middle of the track, is provided by Scott Mulvahill, the bass player of Ricky Skaggs' bluegrass band, Kentucky Thunder. It's certainly one of the more enjoyable versions of the song that I've heard. Martel's version of "The First Noel" follows, which doesn't deviate too much from most renditions in existence, and thus doesn't really stand out. Of course, it doesn't help when the beautiful "Ave Maria" follows it. Despite the lyrics of "Ave Maria" being composed of the Catholic "Hail Mary" in Latin, the piece is timeless and gorgeous, and Martel's take on the song does it justice. The final track is another timeless piece, "The Hallelujah Chorus" from the 1741 oratorio, Handel's Messiah. In a semi-recent Facebook live video, Martel talked a little about how he recorded this piece, using layers and layers of vocals, and utilizing auto-tune and voice modulation to hit some of the high notes that are a bit out of his register. The end result sounds great and ends the EP on an exciting note.

This tradition (is two years a tradition) of Marc Martel aiding in the ushering in of the Christmas season via Christmas carols is one I'm happy with. If you liked last year's Silent Night EP, you will greatly enjoy The First Noel. Get into the Christmas spirit!

- Review date: 9/17/15, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Indie Spotlight Review . Record Label: None
. Album length: 6 tracks: 22 minutes, 7 seconds
. Street Date: November 24, 2017
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (feat. Plumb) (2:38)
  2. Mary Did You Know? (feat. Buddy Greene) (3:20)
  3. The Christmas Song (feat. Scott Mulvahill) (3:46)
  4. The First Noel (4:15)
  5. Ave Maria (4:10)
  6. The Hallelujah Chorus (3:58)

 

 

 

go to main Indie review page
go to Indie Review Index

 

           
Listen to the new album from Connor Flanagan!

Search JFH



Music Out This Week

This Friday, October 19
Gawvi Panorama [Reach]
Hollyn Everything and More / Isaac - Single [Gotee]
Iron Bell Music Glory to Glory [Essential]
Matt Maher The Advent of Christmas [Essential]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth Part III EP [Integrity]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth CD/DVD [Integrity]
Switchfoot Native Tongue - Single [Lowercase People]
Tenth Avenue North The Things We've Been Afraid To Say EP [Reunion]
CeCe Winans Something's Happening: It's Christmas with CeCe Winans [Thirty Tigers]

NEXT Friday, October 26
Francesca Battistelli Own It [Word]
Lauren Daigle Behold: Deluxe Edition [Centricity]
Ben & Noelle Kilgore A Resting Place EP [Integrity/The Creak Music]
Lovelite Apocalypse Hymnal (independent)
Marc Martel My Way, Vol. II: The Queen EP (independent)
Matthew Parker Daydreamer [DREAM]
Fight The Fury Still Breathing EP [Atlantic]
Chris Tomlin Holy Roar [Sparrow]


For all release dates, click here!
 


New Music Reviews


Listen to the new album from Three Bridges!

New Indie Reviews


New Movie Reviews


Free MP3 Downloads