Brandon Heath "Christmas Is Here" by Grace Thorson (cmaddict.com) on 2013-11-21 15:29:22
I venture into this review with trepidation. Brandon Heath’s first ever holiday album, Christmas Is Here, has released early – before December. I’ve heard it’s ironic, since Brandon is a devoted supporter of autumnal celebrations. In fact, he’s running a campaign, Christmas Is (Not) Here (Yet) to keep Christmas separated from autumn until Black Friday, and he’s gone full blown with it. There’s an ever-growing petition online for people to sign, and a video series called Christmas Isn’t Here. Obviously, I’ve already listened to his entire album and maybe a few others.... I know. I’m a terrible person. Brandon Heath’s Christmas police may come and find me.
Brandon Heath is a funny guy, able to connect with his fans in amusing and fun ways. He strikes me as a vintage, classy, sort of singer. He likes tradition, but he’s not afraid to face the new in his music. His track list for Christmas Is Here reflects just that - with seven oldies and three new originals. And being an old-fashioned kind of guy, he has vinyl records available through his online store at brandonheath.net – also, where you’ll find his petition and video.
His first track, and personally one of my favorites, The Day After Thanksgiving is a silly, jazzy, piece. I have a pet peeve with some shopping stores starting their decorations early and Brandon Heath jokingly addresses this in his lyrics: “…it’s fall, everywhere except the mall.” I couldn’t agree more, Brandon. Where’s that petition at?
In “Just a Girl” Brandon lends a serious tone to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The lyrics follow a story about Joseph and Mary through the eyes of the innkeeper – in his words, he describes Mary as just a girl, and however, she’s anything but. Brandon explains the meaning behind his lyrics, “God can do things through ordinary people. Mary was just a girl, but she was also a catalyst in a huge event in the rest of history.” This song is sweet and melodic, easily a new favorite.
Brandon Heath’s “Silent Night” follows along its usual course as a classic. It’s a bit reminiscent of Bing Crosby. I really like this song, but the background vocals sound ghostly, like they came off of an old sixties record. Silent Night is a peaceful and sweetly quiet track, reminiscent of a vintage Christmas. Brandon said this about his album, “I want people to just hear a song and slip back into the past. Good Christmas music is really about sparking people’s memories and inviting them into the story of Jesus’ birth.”
Christmas Is Here will go up on my best-Christmas-albums-ever shelf. It joins with three other spectacular holiday cd’s: Let It Snow Baby… Let It Reindeer by Relient K, Home for Christmas by Barlow Girl, and Christmas by Francesca Battistelli. I’m not a big fan of bluegrass (Brandon’s Blue Mountain), but this, it’s toned down - which is nice. A few songs are bluegrass, some are jazzy, and some are what-you’d-expect-for-Christmas type of songs, but I like it all. I enjoy the variety, otherwise it would be boring. If you’re looking for new tunes after Thanksgiving, then be sure to pick this one up. Don’t be surprised if the lyrics grab you and have you singing along with them in the kitchen, the car, or wherever you may be during this holiday season.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Pop / Folk
Label: Reunion Records
Release Date: October 11, 2013
Buy it: Amazon - iTunes
1. The Day After Thanksgiving
2. Momma Wouldn't Lie To Me
3. Just A Girl
4. O'Come All Ye Faithful/Angels We Have Heard On High
5. Little Town of Bethlehem
6. In The Bleak Midwinter
7. Away In A Manger
8. Silent Night
9. The Christmas Song
10. Go Tell It On The Mountain