Christman Songs: Various Artists

Article excerpt

ARTISTS AND managers recognize a Christmas album as a great marketing tool. It only makes sense. Consumers purchase albums during the Christmas season at a higher-than-normal rate, and the combination of name recognition and musical hunger makes such albums instant sellers. Better still from a marketing perspective, these are albums that will keep selling once a year for many years if they fill a niche.

Last year saw an album by a Canadian record company with lots of Canadian content move quickly to the upper her of Christmas albums by virtue its variety, demographic appeal, and overall musical strength. Nettwerk Records is best known as Sarah McLachlan's label, and the CD Christmas Songs does highlight the Lilith Fair founder and genre carrier, both with cameos and a solo version of Gordon Lightfoot's Song For A Winter's Night which is done in her trademark style. However, it has lots of other treats.

Some are fairly predictable in style and content. Likeminded artists Tara MacLean and Dido impress with a straight read of the well-known secular chestnut Winter Wonderland and a spell binding version of the lesser-known Christmas Day. Another 20th century secular Christmas standard, The Christmas Song, is done by Maren Ord with no surprises.

However, much of the fun of this album is its ingenuity, along with a variety that we have not come to expect from Nettwerk compilations.

One would expect the Medieval Baebes' Gaudette to be quirky, and it is. …