Kathy Mattea's album for the Christmas season is unlike any country Christmas record ever released. For starters, she and producer Brent Maher commissioned original songs rather than taking them from the canon, or adapted obscure songs from the ages. Secondly, the band was formed around what served each song to make it feel as organic as possible. Strange instruments appear, such as the marimbas on "New Kid in Town," recorders and a high string guitar and recorders on "Christ Child Lullaby" (courtesy of Dougie MacLean and Jim Horn), and a full choir on the closing title track. This doesn't feel like any Christmas record you've ever heard before, either. It sounds like a well-crafted, gorgeously wrought folk/country/Celtic-flavored Kathy Mattea record. Give a listen to any of the above, or especially the haunted traditional song "Brightest and Best," completely reworked by Mattea and Maher. The guitars caress the open space between themselves and Mattea's voice, as the pipes and recorders float within. Likewise, listen to "Mary Did You Know," which is one of the most stunningly beautiful Christian folk songs written in decades (by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene). But then, while songs can be many things, they cannot be given life without a singer, and on Good News, in Mattea's instrument, the grains of truth add up to something incalculable: high art.
Performance CreditsKathy Mattea Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Dougie MacLean Guitar,Vocals
Donna McElroy Vocals,Background Vocals
Eric Darken Percussion
Don Potter Acoustic Guitar
Gary Burr Background Vocals
Phoebe Binkley Choir, Chorus
Robert Binkley Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Rebecca Blackwell Choir, Chorus
Lori Brooks Choir, Chorus
Diane Foust Choir, Chorus
Vicki Hampton Vocals,Background Vocals
Jim Horn Recorder
Chris Leuzinger Electric Guitar
Kenny Malone Drums
Randy McCormick Piano,Keyboards
Farrell Morris Percussion,Marimbas
Gordon Mote Choir, Chorus
Kimberly Mote Choir, Chorus
Duncan Mullins Bass
Marcus Rowe Choir, Chorus
Catherine Styron Piano
George Teren Choir, Chorus
Lonnie Wilson Drums
Jonathan Yeaworth Choir, Chorus
Bob Burns Bass
John Thompson Background Vocals
Technical CreditsRobert Binkley Director
Brent Maher Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is my favorite Christmas and anytime CD. The album focuses on the best gift that anyone can receive, the gift of Jesus Christ. It is beautifully done and obviously a labor of love.
Simply one of the best Christmas albums ever recorded. All new material; not a rehash of the usual Christmas fare we hear ad nauseum. Mattea's incredible rendition of "Mary, Did You Know?" is as glorious a four minutes as any ever committed to tape! Highly recommended.
THIS CD HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CD SINCE I BOUGHT IT YEARS AGO. SONGS ARE STIRRING; MOVING. I STILL CANNOT LISTEN TO "MARY DID YOU KNOW" WITHOUT TEARING UP! "NOTHING BUT A CHILD" WILL REMIND YOU OF THE POTENTIAL IN ALL CHILDREN. THE SONGS ARE SO DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CHRISTIAN CHRISTMAS SONGS THAT THEY TRULY WILL HELP YOU PUT "CHRIST" BACK IN YOUR CHRISTMAS!
I did not know any of these songs before I heard it (rare for a Christmas album), but I loved them all on first listen, and love them still. This has become my all-time favorite album.