A Very Acoustic Christmas by Various Artists

Pinecastle Records released A Very Acoustic Christmas, featuring several of the label’s talented artists on November 7, 2018.  Several of these artists I have reviewed some of their great music this past year.  This nine-track album features classic and original Christmas tunes with a bluegrass feel such as Angels We Have Heard On High by Ray Cardwell, Oh The Joy Of Christmas by Merle Monroe, the Jim Reeves classic An Old Christmas Card by Sister Sadie bandmates Dale Ann Bradley & Tina Adair, You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch by Tony Wray and so much more.  This compilation was well written, performed and recorded.  This is the perfect album to add to your Christmas music library.  Whether you want this album on CD or digital download, you can find this release from Amazon, Bandcamp, and my other music outlets.

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The Christmas Collection by Charles Di Raimondo

A great way to spend Christmas Eve is to get a nice package from Canada and in it was a seamless and heartwarming mix of Classical and Contemporary Christmas favorites called The Christmas Collection by a classically trained singer/songwriter/pianist from Toronto, Ontario Canada Charles Di Raimondo.  Charles gives us his unique style and powerful voice on such tracks on this twelve track album that was released November 14, 2103, on the CD Productions Records label such as O Holy Night, What Child Is This, Panis Angelicus, The Lords Prayer, and much more.  I enjoyed this CD from start to finish as was quite impressed with how he made these Christmas classics his own with an amazing performance and a superb recording.  This is definitely an album you will want to add to your Christmas music library which you can get your copy from Amazon, CD Baby, Itunes and many other outlets where CDs and digital downloads are sold.

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A Cape Breton Christmas by Ashley MacIsaac

Ashley MacIsaac, one of Canada’s premier contemporary Celtic fiddlers releases this charming if a not rhythmically explosive tribute to the holiday season with the release A Cape Breton Christmas, originally released on June 6, 1993, and re-released January 8, 2007, on the Linus Entertainment Records label.  She is joined by Scott MacMillan on guitar and keyboards, Aurelie Cormier on vocals, Jim Faraday on percussion, Jeff McDonald on vocals, and Alan MacKenzie on pipes.  This ten-track album features the tracks Twas The Night Before Christmas/The Devil In The Kitchen, Fiddle Medley, Christmas Jugs And Reels…Midnight Clearance Sale, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and much more. I was impressed with how this album was arranged, performed and recorded.  It is refreshing to hear a different style of holiday classics.  This release is available on CD and digital download from Amazon, Itunes, Discogs and many other outlets where music is sold.

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Stony Plain’s Christmas Blues by Various Artists

Stony Plain’s Christmas Blues, a various-artists collection released December 28, 1999, on the Stony Plain Records label brings us a bluesy sound of holiday music. These fourteen tracks are upbeat, cheerful Yuletide tunes such as Dukes Christmas by Duke Robillard, Switchin In The Kitchen by Asleep At The Wheel, No Money No Honey by Maria Muldaur, Christmas Blues by Jimmy Witherspoon, Mama by David Wilcox and so much more.  There is not a single bad song in this compilation which was well written, recorded, and performed. This album is a great addition to one’s Christmas music library, especially when you get tired of hearing to the same albums year after year.  This great compilation is available on CD and digital download formats from Amazon, Discogs, Stony Plain Records, and many other music outlets.

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Punk Rock Christmas 2 by Various Artists

Put away the pumpkins, kids – it’s time to hang the fishnet stockings, trim the plastic, spittle-flecked tree and celebrate another Punk Rock Christmas with Volume Two! Following on the heels of the massively successful Punk Rock Christmas (released in 2015) comes another collection of holiday favorites performed by an even larger gathering of punk rock all-stars including Tsunami Bomb, The Rumjacks, The Members, The Vibrators, Reagan Youth, Down By Law, Naked Aggression, Johnny Thunders and more and is available on both CD in a stocking-sized digipak and on a beautiful red vinyl released November 1, 2019 on Cleopatra Records.  This twenty-six track album features originals and classics with such tunes as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by Tsunami Bomb, John Lennon’s classic Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by The Members, Santa Had To Go Into Rehab by The Vibrators, Who Put The Gum In Santa’s Whiskers by The Ship Thieves, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Walter Etc. and so much more.  This album was well compiled, written, performed and recorded plus is available from Amazon, Cleopatra Records, Bandcamp, and many other music outlets.

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Prog Rock Christmas by Various Artists

In continuation of my Christmas album reviews, I want to tell you about an album that I will be adding among my favorite Christmas albums.  Prog Rock Christmas is a various artist holiday release which will include amazing performances by guitar legend Steve Morse, angelic vocalists Annie Haslam (of Renaissance) and Sonja Kristina (of Curved Air) plus Thijs Van Leer (of Focus), Simon House (of Hawkwind) and others! Also a special guest performance by actor Malcolm McDowell!  This album was released on November 8, 2019, on the Purple Pyramid Records label and distributed by Cleopatra Records.  This thirteen track release includes such tracks as Run With The Fox by Jon Davison (lead singer of Yes), Carol Of The Bells by Steve Morse, You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch by Malcolm McDowell, John Lennon’s Christmas classic Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Wetton and so much more.  I enjoyed every track on this album as well as how this album was arranged, recorded and performed.  This is definitely an album you will want to add to your Christmas library and is available on colored vinyl (Red or White), CD and digital download from Amazon, Cleopatra Records, Itunes and other outlets where music is sold.

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A Celtic Family Christmas by Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy

My next review in my listening to holiday classics for this year is the album A Celtic Family Christmas by Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, a October 28, 2016 album on the Linus Entertainment Records label which features familiar Christmas classics and cherished Celtic songs that comes together as these two master fiddlers and their family welcome you to celebrate the holidays with them.  This eleven-track album features such classics as Angels We Have Heard On High, What Child Is This, Twelve Days Of Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night and much more.  This duo showcases a great performance of these classics as well doing a great recording on this album which is available on CD and digital download from Amazon and many other music outlets.  To learn more about this duo and their other music, go to their official website https://www.natalieanddonnell.com

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The Magic Of Christmas by Quartello Gelato

With the holiday season coming around the corner, it is nice to find new holiday albums to mix in with the standards that we have heard year in and year out.  A great example of that is the November 9, 2010 holiday album The Magic Of Christmas by Canada’s own Quartetto Gelato, a 12-track collection of classic and timeless holiday songs set to lush arrangements released on the Linus Entertainment Records label.  This quartet consists of the late Alexander Sevastian on accordion, Colin Maier on oboe, clarinet, and English Horn, Liza McLellan on cello and bass and Peter DeSotto on violin, mandolin, and vocals.  This quartet put their touch on Christmas classics such as White Christmas, The Christmas Song, Ave Maria, I’ll Be Home For Christmas plus two compilations Christmas Medley and a classical Christmas piece called Christmas Concerto.  I was moved by how well this album was arranged, performed and recorded.  If you are looking for a Christmas album that is different from what you hear every year, pick up a copy of this one on CD and digital download from Amazon, Itunes, and all other music outlets. To learn more about this quartet, go to their official website https://quartettogelato.ca

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Spirit Of Christmas by Matt Andersen

Spirit Of Christmas is the first Christmas album from Canadian blues/roots artist Matt Andersen released in 2014 on the True North Records label.  Joining Matt Anderson who is playing guitar and vocals, is Dennis Pendrith on bass, John Sheard on keyboards, Shane Guse on fiddle, and Jamie Robinson and Dave Gunning on guitar and vocals.  This thirteen track holiday album features some of Matt’s favorite traditional songs, a few originals and some from his friends such as Hobo Christmas Train, Blue Christmas, Oh Holy Night, Miss Mary Christmas, Ol’ Nick And Rudy and much more.  This superb album was well written, arranged, recorded and performed.  This is a great addition to your Christmas music library and you can get your copy from Amazon, Itunes, Discogs, True North Records and all other outlets where CD’s and digital downloads are sold.

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Colin James & The Little Big Band: Christmas by Colin James

Colin James & The Little Big Band: Christmas is a holiday and 12th studio album by Colin James, a Canadian rock and blues singer, and songwriter, recorded in Nashville and released in  November 2007 on the True North Record label.  Joining Colin James who is playing lead and rhythm guitars and vocals is Roy Agee on trombone, Steve Hillam on tenor saxophone, Doug James on baritone saxophone, Colin Linden on guitar and vocals, Greg Piccolo on tenor saxophone, Bob Ruggiero on drums, Jeff Sarli on bass, Terry Townson on trumpet, John Whynot on piano and Reese Wynans on piano and organ.  This eleven-track album features such great Christmas tracks as Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Merry Christmas Baby, Blue Christmas, Please Come Home For Christmas and much more.  This album was well arranged, performed and recorded and is available on CD and digital download from Amazon, Bandcamp, Itunes, and many other music outlets.

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