Holiday Music: A Few Joyful Noises

By Koger, David | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 12, 1996 | Go to article overview

Holiday Music: A Few Joyful Noises


Koger, David, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Thanksgiving is well behind us, and it's time to start buying gifts, unpacking decorations, making travel plans. Perhaps most important for those determined to get through the holiday season with a smile on their faces - it's time to select some appropriate, uplifting Christmas music.

But picking good holiday music is not what it used to be. In today's market, lurking out there behind attractive, brightly adorned covers are Christmas collections that will ruin a mood faster than St. Nick can shimmy up a chimney. The trick in choosing Christmas music lies in separating the wheat from the chaff. And there is a great deal of chaff out there this year. The albums reviewed below represent some of the best and worst recently released for 1996.

"GIFTS," THE NASHVILLE MANDOLIN ENSEMBLE ON COLUMBIA RECORDS

This charming album is a rare collection of traditional songs best savored during a quiet moment of reflection, sitting by a fire or gazing at a Christmas tree. Despite the name Nashville Mandolin, this is not a bluegrass or country music album. The mandolin arrangements on "Gifts" bring life to aged tunes such as "Carol of the Bells," "The First Noel" and the moving "O Holy Night" by stripping them of the orchestral arrangements found on some other recordings. Those who are looking for Christmas music in the New Age or Celtic vein should consider "Gifts."

"STAR OF WONDER: A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION," VARIOUS ARTISTS ON ARISTA-NASHVILLE RECORDS

For true country music fans, this collection of seasonal tunes probably is worth buying if for no other reason than Steve Wariner's faithful rendition of "Silent Night" and Alan Jackson's jaunty version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." Disappointingly, taken as a whole, "Star of Wonder" fails to rise above its holiday competitors. In addition to Mr. Wariner and Mr. Jackson, this production features only Arista-Nashville recording artists, such as Diamond Rio, Radney Foster, Blackhawk, Lee Roy Parnell, Brooks and Dunn, and Michelle Wright.

The brightest ornament on this musical tree is the warm and folksy "Cabin in the Valley," written and performed by Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn.

"THE GIFT," KENNY ROGERS ON MAGNATONE RECORDS

This album, Kenny Rogers' first release for Magnatone Records, features a duet with fellow country star Wynonna Judd on "Mary Did You Know," a song that asks the mother of Jesus whether she knows what impact her baby will have on the world. This tightly woven work has a gentle holiday sound that makes it a must-have item for fans of Mr. Rogers and a good choice for those looking for a refreshing, unpretentious Christmas music collection.

"CHRISTMAS ISLAND," JIMMY BUFFETT ON MCA RECORDS

Die-hard "Parrot heads" are going to love Jimmy Buffett's first attempt at a Christmas album. Others, who remember Mr. Buffett best for his "(Wastin' Away Again in) Margaritaville," may ask, "Why?" upon hearing this album. The answer lies in what Mr. Buffett believes is the strange coincidence of his being born on Christmas Day 1946, the same day W.C. Fields died.

"Christmas Island" is a muddled holiday brew that includes a grating reggae arrangement of "Jingle Bells," a barely recognizable orchestration of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and a baffling rendition of "Up on the House Top," which sounds like something recorded for a "Beavis and Butthead" Christmas special. The last cut, "Merry Christmas Alabama," almost salvages the album, which proves that Mr. Buffett can write a good song with a Christmas theme if necessary. The remaining original work falls short of what is expected from this talented songwriter.

"ALABAMA CHRISTMAS, VOLUME II," ALABAMA ON RCA RECORDS

Sincerity is an important element of any quality recording. Discerning fans can spot a purely commercial product over an honest effort to produce quality music every time. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Holiday Music: A Few Joyful Noises
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.