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Joy for Christmas Day
     

Joy for Christmas Day

4.5 2
by Kathy Mattea
 
Anyone who's been listening to Kathy Mattea's recent albums knows to expect the unexpected, and that's what she delivers on this, her second Christmas album (the first was 1993's Grammy-winning Good News). This time around, Mattea offers a new twist on some old favorites, brings da funk a couple of times, and spices the seasonal mix

Overview

Anyone who's been listening to Kathy Mattea's recent albums knows to expect the unexpected, and that's what she delivers on this, her second Christmas album (the first was 1993's Grammy-winning Good News). This time around, Mattea offers a new twist on some old favorites, brings da funk a couple of times, and spices the seasonal mix with some new songs. The powerful opener, "Christmas Collage," melds five traditional carols centered on the birth of Christ and his impact on the world, including a polyphonic rendering of "O Come All Ye Faithful." Mattea intertwines a cappella or minimally arranged segments with more elaborate, vocally rich pieces, before everything comes together in a triumphant chorus of "What Child Is This?" "Baby King," written by Marc Cohn, is a funky gospel call-and-response number anticipating the new world the Christ Child will shape. "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" showcases Mattea's magnificent, expressive voice, which accompanied only by a lightly strummed acoustic guitar. In a startling transformation of a Yuletide favorite, "O Come All Ye Faithful" begins a cappella in Latin, then slinks into a greasy soul groove. Penned by Melissa Manchester and Beth Nielsen Chapman, "There's Still My Joy" is a powerful tale of healing after tragedy by drawing strength from the season. Mattea's emotion is palpable here, and no wonder -- her father, who sings on a bonus track, passed away while she was recording this album. His genial voice is preserved here on what should become a classic Christmas album.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The two-time Grammy winner checks in with her first Christmas disc in ten years, drawing from all the unique traditions that have enhanced her career as a decorated country artist -- including folk, bluegrass, and Celtic. The key to a strong holiday CD is finding clever new arrangements of the classics and offering originals that present the spirit in a unique way. Mattea does both, opening with an Irish folk-styled "Christmas Collage" featuring marching drums, bells, and a small choral group. The Celtic flavors tag along throughout, informing both her vocal approach and instrumentation (pennywhistle, mandolin) on a jubilant, Handel-inspired "Unto Us a Child Is Born" and the more subtle and wistful "Straw Against the Chill." "Baby King" blends steel guitar and a country gospel choir behind Mattea's most powerful delivery, and the similarly organic country flavors make the clap-along "When the Baby Grew Up" a wildly irresistible back-porch burner. Mattea is also aces on more traditionally arranged pieces like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," which she performs with only a gentle guitar accompaniment. Definitely one of 2003's best holiday treats.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/30/2003
Label:
Narada
UPC:
0724359050621
catalogNumber:
90506

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kathy Mattea   Primary Artist,Vocals,Human Whistle
Jim Brock   Percussion,Drums
Bob Halligan   Vocals
Mick Conley   Acoustic Guitar,Octave Bass
Bill Cooley   Acoustic Guitar,national steel guitar
Nick DiStefano   Vocals
Gerry Gillespie   Bass,Vocals
Byron House   Bass
Joanie Madden   Human Whistle
Carson Whitsett   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Chris Carmichael   Violin,Cello,Vocals
Dan Needham   Drums
Ed Cash   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Ben Shive   Keyboards
Terry Wilson   Vocals
Matt Pierson   Bass

Technical Credits

Felix Mendelssohn   Composer
Beth Nielsen Chapman   Composer
Kathy Mattea   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Marc Cohn   Composer
Melissa Manchester   Composer
Matt Rollings   Composer
Bob Franke   Composer
Craig Bickhardt   Composer
Mick Conley   Engineer
Bill Cooley   Arranger,Composer
Rob Mathes   Composer
Thom Schuyler   Composer
Charles Wesley   Composer
Suzy Wills   Composer
Connie Gage   Art Direction
Frederick Oakeley   Composer
John Francis Wade   Composer
Jennifer Knapp   Composer
Ed Cash   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Traditional   Composer

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Joy for Christmas Day 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've listened to some of her other albums,this doesn't sound like her at all.It's that she's just a great country singer.She should stick to that.If you love all her albums,this one is much stronger.She has more voice than usual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Kathy Mattea CD has become a classic in our home, with her rich vocals, amazing song styling, and phenomenal new pieces in the mix. Rarely have we heard such creativity on a Christmas album. One of the first things we do when it starts to snow is get out Joy for Christmas Day. It's a favorite gift when we give as well. Everyone should take a listen to this great CD!