Friday, November 28, 2014

Getting into the Holiday Groove

Indulge me a bit here, okay?

So, I love Christmas music.  Not so much that I listen to it June, but I definitely do NOT complain when the radio stations start playing it.  I have accumulated quite a playlist for my phone, which is handy because my kids have inherited my gene and started asking me to play Christmas carols for them at some point in early November.

I have gone through my playlist and deleted a few albums (no matter how much I try, I just cannot stand Celtic Women!), but I thought I would do something fun.  Here is a list of my top 10 Holiday albums that are currently on my playlist.  I'm purposely waiting until after I publish the post to get some of the new albums coming out, so you won't see, say, Idina Menzel here.  Maybe next year.

I'm going to try to find a YouTube clip of a song from each album, just in case you want a little taste. I will warn you that some of these videos are ones done by fans so, well, you know.... Okay?  Here we go!

10. A Laurie Berkner Christmas by Laurie Berkner
If you do not have children, you probably have no clue who Laurie Berkner is.  She's quite a hit in the under-8 circles and her Christmas album is delightful, albeit a bit straightforward.  The kids love her because she's easy to sing along to for them, which is very important to my children

9. Brad Paisley Christmas by Brad Paisley
I no longer listen to a lot of country music, but I still adore Brad Paisley.  This is the only country Christmas album still left on my playlist as it is quite fun.  And, really, the duet with his younger self on a song he wrote as a child ("Born on Christmas Day") makes this all worth it.  There are few sort of out-take tracks, which I've taken out of the playlist because, well, they sort of lose their effect when you have hundreds of songs on shuffle.

8. Home for the Holidays (Broadway Cares)
This is a compilation album from a number of Broadway performers.  The carols are pretty straightforward, but they are done by incredibly talented singers who can emote a song beyond what your standard popular singer can dream of doing.

7. Christmas Rocks by The Brian Setzer Orchestra
This one is just FUN! Christmas Carols with will have you up and dancing!

6. Cool Yule by Bette Midler
Oh, yes! Bette Midler does Christmas!  Actually, Christmas is what got her start.  As a young girl in Hawaii she was somewhere singing Christmas carols and a local TV station found her and aired her singing some songs.  She was terrified that her Jewish parents would be upset to find their daughter singing Christmas Carols, but they were thrilled.

You do have to excuse the schmaltzy Christmas version of "From A Distance," but other than that, this is a great album by a great lady.

5. Come Darkness, Come Light by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Oh, I love me some MCC!  She never struck me as the sort of artist who would do a holiday album, but here she is!  She's very loyal to her style here--gentle and folkish.  The song is a mix of traditional songs and some she composed and includes the loveliest Thanksgiving song I've ever heard!

4. A Family Christmas by The Piano Guys
Their videos are just about as wonderful as their music.  Really, has there ever been a group that made YouTube work so well for them?  Anyway, Christmas music is right up their alley. (By the way, for most of these, I've been struggling to find one video to share.  For these guys, I had trouble narrowing it down to one.  Seriously, go see all their stuff on YouTube!)

3. Barenaked for the Holidays by Barenaked Ladies
This one is just as quirky as you'd expect from BNL.  It also has 2 Hannukah songs and a lovely rendition of "Auld Lane Syne."  My favorite, however, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" with Sarah McLachlan.

2. Everything You Want For Christmas and It Feels Like Christmas Time by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Yeah, I'm cheating--there are 2 albums here.  But they are both great and, when they are shuffled up in my playlist, I never know which song is from which album.  Like the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is a swing bad, but they are edgier and less "Big Band-ish."  These are a definite must if you are having a party!

1. Christmas by Michael Bublé
This album has pretty much everything I love...great songs, an artist who stays true to his style, and a swinging beat.   I may have had to really think where I placed some of the albums on this list, but this album was always #1.

So, there you go....of course, by the time this post goes live, I may have already found some new favorites.  Do you have any recommendations for me (other than Celtic Women)?  I'd love to hear them!

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