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JFH Music Review

David Crowder*Band, Oh For Joy

David Crowder*Band
Oh For Joy

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 8 tracks: 35 minutes, 23 seconds
Street Date: October 4, 2011

Honor. When I think of modern renditions of classic Christmas songs, that tends to be the thing missing from them. If an artist can interpret a classic in an up-to-date fashion, yet still honor the original, it calls for celebration. Our friends in the David Crowder*Band have not only done well with their holiday offering, they've proven that an old dog can do new tricks and it's still the same lovable dog we've known and grown to love. If the title Oh For Joy hasn't given it away yet, this EP calls for celebration with all of the holiday cheer you can muster.

Beginning the festivities is "Joy To the World." If anyone can turn a classic Christmas song into a worship song, it is definitely DC*B. The orchestration of the music is impeccable and very intentional; it's climaxed with the worshipful bridge as Crowder sings, "Oh for joy, lift up your voice. The Christ has come! The Christ has come!" The transition is excellent into the soft yet driven "The First Noel." Giving the song a mellow feel is the acoustic guitar along with Hogan's beautiful violin. I'm thankful to report that the song has not been altered into something that it is not, unlike many artists who choose to record updated renditions of classic Christmas music. Instead, it keeps its original melody and the heart of the song is simply magnified.

"Go, Tell It On The Mountain" receives a great dusting off, as it's already a slightly out-of-place holiday classic. If you're not a fan of the original, Crowder's rendition may win you over with the simple music and the insertion of "It's Christmas Day." In true Crowder-esque fashion, we are given a bluegrass take on "Angels We Have Heard On High." It comes complete with banjo, fiddle, and a wonderful crowd hollering together. "O Come, O Come Emanuel" has a similar sound to what you might hear on A Collision with the soft guitar and the constant building until it finally culminates with the resounding, "Rejoice! Emanuel has come!" Pure beauty.

At this point, the EP transitions to a live segment. Normally, this would turn me off, but the recording quality is so good and the integration of the crowd gives it an extra holiday punch. "O Holy Night" stays extremely traditional except for tacking on the chorus of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," making the song that much sweeter. "Silent Night" continues in the same traditional manner, but only with the crowd singing and ending with an excellent bluegrass finale. Finishing the Christmas venture of DC*B is "Carol of the Bells." The song is basically a cover of the classic, instrumentally immortalized by the Tran Siberian Orchestra: a first-rate way to conclude a celebration of Christmas music.

If this EP is proving one thing, it is that you don't have to change something to make it fresh. The talented craftsmen of David Crowder*Band really do pay homage to the songs that have existed for years and years by staying true to the melodies and the heart behind the music. This is definitely going to become a classic album for families young and old. So get the wassail brewing, pull the cookies out of the oven, and put on Oh For Joy. It's time to celebrate. Merry Christmas, y'all!

- Review date: 10/3/11, written by Ryan Barbee of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

2012 will be somewhat of a sad year for fans of good worship music, as we'll be forced to say goodbye to the music of David Crowder*Band. But before their final release next year, tentatively titled 7, they're dropping a beautiful little treat on our laps this year, just in time for Christmas. It's the first ever Crowder Christmas release, an EP called Oh For Joy. For those familiar with DC*B's music, you know it's pop rock with a fantastic spin that only DC*B can give it, with thoughtful guitar lines and melodies, as well as traces of electronic music splattered about oh-so-carefully. Oh For Joy is no exception. A lot of what Oh For Joy offers reminds me of their masterpieces A Collision and Church Music, but with a much heavier leaning toward A Collision. For instance, the anthemic nature of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," and the bluegrass stylings of "Angels We Have Heard On High." They also perform some of the carols in a more traditional manner. "O Holy Night," which was released last year as a non-album, free download from the guys, and "Silent Night" are performed and structured in a traditional sense. "Silent Night" has little more than a guitar and light - very light - percussion, with a thousand voices all singing along (as it's also a live rendition). However, to make things a little more creative, once you get to about the four-minute-mark, you can hear a banjo make its way into the song, and the tempo picks up a bit, returning to the bluegrass sound as before (though not as much as "Angels We Have Heard On High" or "I Saw The Light" from A Collision). Crowder sings "This night is so quiet, it's so quiet," before ending the song with some vocalizing of his own; it's done quite beautifully. My only real complaint was the talking at the beginning of the final track. Crowder makes it known that it was recorded after Christmas (presumably last year), but it just seemed a little weird to include that on an EP that's being released in early October. Small complaint aside, the final track had some excellent arena rock-style guitar work for the instrumental "Carol of the Bells." With the only real complaints I have being that a few of the tracks were live instead of studio recordings (and those complaints being relatively trivial), I can safely say that Crowder's first Christmas album was a success, and will probably be in heavy rotation for this Christmas season, and Christmases to come. - Scott Fryberger, 10/3/11


. Record Label: Sixstepsrecords
. Album length: 8 tracks: 35 minutes, 23 seconds
. Street Date: October 4, 2011
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)
. Buy It:

  1. Joy To the World (2:58)
  2. The First Noel (5:24)
  3. Go, Tell It On The Mountain (4:39)
  4. Angels We Have Heard On High (2:06)
  5. O Come, O Come Emanuel (4:49)
  6. O Holy Night / Hallelujah (Live) (5:03)
  7. Silent Night (Live) (6:18)
  8. Carol Of The Bells / Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) - Live (4:12)


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