Essential Records struck gold when they released the first City On A Hill project in 2000. What followed were two sequels and a Christmas project. Each album was excellent in its own right, joining all kinds of artists together for new collaborative efforts. But the City On A Hill series ended and all probably thought such projects would too. Enter Come Let Us Adore Him. This project sort of looks and feels much like a follow-up to City On A Hill: It's Christmas Time, focusing on the worship side of the holiday.
Come Let Us Adore Him kicks off with a short ballad from newcomer Ana Laura entitled "Sanctus," which she sings entirely in Latin. This leads into another hymn entitled "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord," performed by Bebo Norman and Caedmon's Call's Danielle Young. The production team for Come Let Us Adore Him is essentially the same from the City On A Hill series (Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd), and so many of the songs that this team arranged bear the same distinct sound. "Here With Us" is performed by the delightful Joy Williams, who penned the original with worship leader Jason Ingram and Ben Glover. "Hail Almighty King" features a few members from Caedmon's Call, as does "Silver Starlight." "King Of Angels" teams 16 year old Krystal Meyers with Day Of Fire's Josh Brown for the acoustic original from Hindalong, Byrd, and Derri Daugherty. Probably the most intimate and most traditional in sound is found in Josh Brown's moving rendition of "O Come All Ye Faithful." But the song ends before it really can take off to its fullest potential. As the second verse begins, "Sing choirs of angels," the music fades out and Christine Byrd's signature angelic vocals rise as the song ends in less than two minutes. A unique and original arrangement indeed, the song feels like it ends way too prematurely and robs the listener of what could have been the best song on the record. But Jars Of Clay's "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear" is a wonderful acoustic rendition in pure Jars fashion and is easily a highlight on the record. Third Day's cover of Julie Miller's "Manger Throne" is also included, despite already appearing on the 2002 project City On A Hill: It's Christmas Time. And made available for the first time since the hard-to-find Essential Energy Christmas in 2000, Bebo Norman's "Mary's Prayer" is featured near the close of the record, rearranged to include a fuller sound and Christine Byrd's soft vocals.
Come Let Us Adore Him is a wonderful Christmas compilation, but some of the originals on the record could easily fade into obscurity in the endless sea of uninspired Christmas songs. This is not to say all of the album's new songs are doomed to be forgotten; quite hardly, but because the production team has its own writing style, a lot of their songs sound the same, despite who is supplying the vocals (and it's been this way since the dawn of the first City On A Hill). But if you're a fan of any of the artists on the album, or soft, acoustic-driven Christmas songs, or just looking for something a little new if you're tired of hearing covers of "The Little Drummer Boy" everywhere you turn, than definitely look into Come Let Us Adore Him.- Review date: 9/24/05, written by John DiBiase
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