John’s Christmas Gift Picks: Best New Christmas CD releases for 2017
I’ve searched the globe over to find the best new Christmas CD’s of 2017. The internet makes this a lot easier than if I was doing this in 1975! Below is my list of the ones that would make great gifts on Christmas morning.
“Warmer in the winter” – Lindsay Sterling: Top Billboard artist and award winning violinist Lindsay Sterling brings her unique style to Christmas with her new release “Warmer in the winter”. From classical to jazz to modern electronica, Lindsay has it all covered on this project. The highlights are “Christmas C’mon (featuring Becky G)” which will have you tapping your toes (or maybe dancing), “Angels We Have Heard On High/I Saw Three Ships” done in Celtic style, and the jazzy title track “Warmer in the Winter (featuring Trombone Shorty) . Lindsay will be on tour across the country in December.
“Christmas Together – The Piano Guys”: Steven Sharp Nelson (cellist and songwriter), and Jon Schmidt (pianist and songwriter) have been creating wonderfully unique and inspirational music for a long time. “Christmas together” is their second Christmas release. This CD features not only their wonderful instrumentals but great guest vocals as well including David Archuleta, Peter Hollens, Lexi Walker and Placido Domingo. “I Saw Three Ships” takes us back to merry olde England. “Ode to Joy to the World” seamlessly combines two classic hymns into a soaring worship experience and is the best composition on the project. The great voice of Lexi Walker shines on “O Holy Night/Ave Maria”. And the CD ends with a emotional tribute to Jon Schmidt’s daughter Annie who died while on a hiking trip in 2016.
Gwen Stefani – “You make it feel like Christmas”: For those who like the “oldies” sound of the 60’s and early 70’s this CD will be the perfect Christmas gift. The CD opens with the title track, a great number and duet with Blake Shelton. Gwen’s cover of ‘Santa Baby” would do Eartha Kitt proud. “My Gift Is You” is a great Christmas love song who’s beat will remind you of Ben E King’s “Stand By Me”. “Jingle Bells” and “Last Christmas” will have you dancing and reminiscing about the sound of the Ronnettes. No Doubt (pun intended) you will enjoy this CD.
“A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe” – I’m pretty sure this is a upgraded version of one of their previous Christmas Cd’s, but who cares? It’s Pentatonix. And they have owned Christmas music for several years now because they are simply awesome. There are several gems on this CD. “God rest ye Merry Gentlemen” ends with a crescendo that reminds me a little of “Beep Beep” by 60’s group The Playmates. “Christmas Sing-Along” will have you singing and put a smile on your face. “I’ll be home for Christmas” is a nice tribute to the doo wop style of groups like the Drifters. On “White Christmas” they have help from Manhattan Transfer that sounds a lot like Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66. And “how great thou art” features the great vocals of Jennifer Hudson.
“Christmas Together” – The Tenors: Formerly known as the Canadian Tenors, the Tenors have been singing together since 2007. Their music is a mix of classical and pop sung operatic style. The members of the group are Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters and Clifton Murray. Their CD (which can also be purchased as a vinyl LP) is a mix of Christmas classics and original material. Their cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the best I’ve heard. “Santa’s Wish (Teach the world)” is a new song but has a familiar melody to those who remember a particular Coca-Cola commercial in the early 1970’s. The CD ends with a soaring version of “Auld Lang Syne”.
Christmas with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – It’s been over 40 years since the “King’s” death and he’s still going strong. This Christmas Elvis returns backed up by the RPO. This is the third project of re-mastering the Elvis classics to orchestra music. You will enjoy hearing his music like new – great holiday classics such as “Here comes Santa Clause” and “Merry Christmas Baby” as well as classic hymns such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “O Come All Ye Faithful”. Elvis never sounded so good. The deluxe version of the CD includes 4 additional gospel songs, the genre I enjoy most by Elvis – “Peace in the Valley”, “I Believe”, “Take My Hand Precious Lord” and “It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)”. You won’t have a Blue Christmas with this CD.
Merry Christmas baby. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Elvis has left the building – to go help Santa deliver his presents. Uh-huh huh.