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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Christmas album, 8 Dec 2003
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
This is the sixth in the series of special Christmas albums dedicated to raising money for the Special Olympics, but this one is very different from previous albums that generally featured pop and rock music. This album, as its title suggests, features acoustic country and bluegrass music. As far as I know, all the recordings are new although some of the artists have recorded their chosen songs previously. Many of the songs here will be familiar to you but the simple acoustic settings featured here allow the singers to bring out the true meaning of each song
The set opens with Reba singing a great version of Silent night. Reba previously recorded this for her first Christmas album, Merry Christmas to you, in the eighties. On that occasion, she did a spoken introduction explaining how the song came to be written but she did not repeat that on this new recording.
Dan Tyminski does a sparkling version of Frosty the snowman, on which a couple of children (James and Julia Knobloch) sing backup on the word Stop. Willie Nelson proves that he still has what it takes with a fine rendition of Please come home for Christmas. Alan Jackson is brilliant on the rarely recorded Just put a ribbon in your hair, an excellent Christmas love song. Alison Kraus deviates a little from the acoustic concept on her own song, Only you can bring me cheer, although it is a brilliant recording.
Marty Stuart is next on Even Santa Claus gets the blues, which is a great song that he wrote himself. Earl Scruggs contributes an instrumental version of Jingle bells. Ralph Stanley sings Christmas is near, a song he wrote and first recorded as one of the Stanley brothers. Patty Loveless is a classy singer who is in her element on this type of album as she proves with one of the finest renditions of O come all ye faithful that I've ever heard.
Wynonna began her career singing acoustic country as one half of the Judds and shows that she can still do that type of music with an excellent version of O holy night. Pat Green, a singer new to me, sings Winter wonderland. Sam Bush provides the second and last instrumental on this album with his version of Let it snow. Ricky Skaggs reminds us that he can still record quality music on Away in a manger. Rhonda Vincent treats us to Christmas time at home, a great bluegrass song that she wrote herself. Tift Merritt does an excellent and very distinctive version of I'll be home for Christmas. Pop-jazz singer Norah Jones sings and plays piano on the final track, Peace, without any other accompaniment.
This is an outstanding collection that will give all fans of acoustic music a lot of pleasure as well as benefiting a worthy charity.
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