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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Sounds of the Season

This month I'm taking a break from writing about, well, writing, to talk about one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. 

As a very aural person, I love music, especially Christmas music. Now, I do have my limits. There are a couple of local radio stations that I no longer listen to because they begin playing Christmas music 24/7 on November 1st. I’m sorry, but there are only so many times one can hear Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and remain sane; these stations hit that limit within a week.

I usually haul my Christmas CDs out the day after Thanksgiving. (Yes, I'm old school. I still have - and play - CDs.) The music of the season is what really puts me in the Christmas mood and helps me relax when the stress would otherwise get the best of me. Even though I have a sixty CD case that is pretty much full, there are three CDs that I play over and over.

Phillips, Craig and Dean: Repeat the Sounding Joy

I’ll be the first to admit that for the most part, I prefer male singers over female; I tend to like deeper voices. I also love harmony, which is one of the things that drew me to this trio from the beginning. This album has non-traditional arrangements of traditional music and their rendition of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is breath-taking; this song is what I imagine the choirs of heaven sound like.

NewSong: The Christmas Shoes

Yes, those Christmas Shoes; the song that had us all weeping into our eggnog the year it released. (I’m including you here guys. Don’t try to deny it. I’m sure plenty of you snuck off for a good sniffle when it played.) This album has my favorite renditions of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch. Like Phillips, Craig and Dean, NewSong harmonizes beautifully. Also, different group members perform the lead vocals on different tracks. However, there is one vocalist whose voice makes me weak in the knees; his rendition of O Holy Night has the ability to reduce me to tears – in a good way.

 John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together

Yes, you read that right. One of my all-time favorite Christmas albums includes the Muppets. I’ve always like John Denver; he always made singing seem so effortless. This album is filled with a mixture of traditional and non-traditional songs; there isn’t a bad one in the bunch. This CD is such a tradition in our home that when my sons moved out, they received their own copies to continue the tradition in their homes.
To each and every one of you, I wish you the merriest of holiday seasons. And to those of you who, like me, will have an empty chair at the table and an empty place in your heart... hugs. 

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1 comment:

  1. Isabella, what a great post. I love music. I'm a classically trained pianist, but I haven't played now in probably over a year. I don't know why, but I just haven't wanted to. Christmas might just get me over that, though. I always loved playing Christmas music. I really like to hear about new groups, and these first two you mentioned are ones I've never heard of. SO, I will be venturing to YOUTUBE and giving a listen to them to see what they're all about!

    John Denver--of course, I grew up listening to his music. And Almost Heaven, West Virginia has real meaning for me, since my dad got transferred to West Virginia from Oklahoma my senior year in high school--that song gave me hope that it was going to be a really beautiful place--and I wasn't disappointed! I have never listened to the entire John Denver Christmas album though, so I am thinking I need to get that one, for sure.

    Hugs to you, too. I lost both my parents 8 years ago within three weeks of each other at Christmas time, and I miss them still, every single day. But especially as the holidays roll around.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and thanks so much for recommending some new music! I'm anxious to hear it all now!