More Great Christmas Albums by Catholic Artists

Here are four of the newer releases from today's best Catholic artists.
by Susan Bailey | Source: http://www.gvonline.net

There are many fine Advent and Christmas CDs available from Catholic artists, Here are some of the newer releases for your Christmas listening pleasure.

Seasons
Eventide Lullaby

So many thoughts rush through my mind while listening to the angelic sounds of Eventide Lullaby.  At a time when we all yearn for peace and calm in this crazy, hectic world, you only need to plug this CD into your player and find yourself being lulled to that very place.  The title, “Eventide Lullaby” speaks perfectly as I envisioned myself being drawn into the gentle sounds while sitting in a chair before a cozy fire wrapped in a blanket with the flickering lights of candles. 

As a guitarist and vocalist, I found the beautiful sounds of the harp and hammered dulcimer to be very intriguing.  These 3 siblings, Mary Kate, Mary Teresa and Peter Lee prove to be very gifted in their artistry with these rarely heard instruments as well as their unique adaptations of many familiar carols that herald the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I found the original pieces, “Eventide Lullaby” and “Listen to the Angels” hauntingly beautiful.  They definitely depict the messages of the atmosphere of the setting where Jesus was born in the arrangements and vocals. I must commend the vocal choices as they blend perfectly together and with the instrumental accompaniment.

My one issue with the CD was with “Silent Night.”  This is my favorite Christmas song and although done very well with guitar, violin and vocals, I was looking forward to hearing how this group, Seasons, put their spin on it with the harp and dulcimer. I also went to research the group a little by going to the website www.seasonsmusic.net only to find the same information that was on the CD cover itself.  I wanted to know more about these amazing artists! 

Aside from that, I believe in all honesty that this CD could do very well in a broad market beyond just Catholic spectrums.  It has that beauty that would touch every soul.  I look forward to hearing more from Seasons.

Reviewed by Sally Bolderson

Note: Seasons has a video up on YouTube which demonstrates their amazing instrumental ability. Here they are playing "Clocks" by Cold Play.


 

Renee Bondi
My Christmas Wish

If you’re looking for music that will transport you back in time to a old-fashioned family Christmas, and fill you with blessings, My Christmas Wish  by Renee Bondi is the choice for you. 

Renee’s naturally warm voice invites you into a familiar world of Christmas favorites such as “What Child is This,”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Let It Snow,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” She does a delightful duet with 13-year old son Daniel on “Sleigh Ride”; I was very impressed with Daniel’s vocal mastery on such a difficult song. 

New songs are introduced as well. Renee shares her Christmas wishes with us in the personal title cut, and the airy, well-crafted “Capistrano Christmas Eve” gives us a peak into her hometown of San Juan Capistrano.

My favorites (hard to choose, there were so many) were her thoughtful renditions of “Ave Maria” and “O Holy Night.” These songs are done by so many singers, but Renee added an extra twist on both of them. For “Ave Maria,” she created a lovely medley, blending Shubert into Gounod.. It made for a meaningful listening experience that blessed me with a feeling of the Blessed Mother’s presence. 

Ever since I heard “Cantique de Noël” (the French carol version of “O Holy Night”) as a child, I have longed to hear it again. It was such a lovely surprise to hear Renee sing the French carol (and with such a perfect French accent) along with the familiar English version.

My Christmas Wish is a must for your holiday listening pleasure. It will fill you full of Christmas blessings.

 You can purchase My Christmas Wish at www.reneebondi.com.

 Reviewed by Susan Bailey
 

SpiritWing Records
Catholic Christmas

Catholic Christmas, a compilation album from SpiritWing Records (producers of Catholic Music 2007 and Catholic Music 2008) containing songs from 17 of the best Catholic artists, is an excellent and diversified collection that makes for a perfect listening companion during the Christmas season.

Catholic Christmas begins (and ends) with Advent-themed songs such as the hauntingly exquisite “O Come O Come Emmanuel” by Celeste Zepponi and the thought-provoking “Waiting for the Christ Child” by Nancy Krebs.

The variety of styles coupled with spirited performances makes Catholic Catholic Christmas a wonderfully entertaining album that will bless you as you prepare for Christmas. Examples include the inspiring sounds of Interior Castle on “Away in a Manger, the flamboyant joy of “A King is Born,” by Fr. Charles and Laurie Mangano, simple poignancy in Deacon Chuck Stevens’ “Joseph (Bethlehem Morn”), and warmth and nostalgia in Lynn Geyer’s “The Magic of Christmas Day.”

There are seventeen artists represented on this CD which you can listen to (and purchase) at CD Baby - http://cdbaby.com/cd/spiritwingrecs2. I highly recommend this album and other SpiritWing projects which you can find at www.spiritwingrecords.com.

Reviewed by Susan Bailey
 

Tom Franzak and family
littleway
christmas 1

Just before Christmas last year, Tom Franzak released littleway christmas 1. He was interviewed along with his daughter, Lucy (who sings on the album along with other family members) on the GrapeVine News Minute podcast. You can listen to it on the player below - just click on the title.

Music samples from the songs, "Emmanuel," "That's What Christmas Means," and "On Christmas Day" are featured.

You can purchase littleway christmas 1 at www.littlewaychristmas.com.

Interview conducted by Susan Bailey.

 



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