Favorite Holiday Album This Year

If you follow my posts or have read my novel, you already know that I’m a Christmas fanatic. In our house, we typically put up three trees, have a gigantic nutcracker collection, and at one point had a holiday CD collection totaling over 200, which is kind of crazy, considering that you really only hear the same 26 songs over and over.  While I’ve thinned out the collection dramatically, each season I still hunt for new and interesting additions.

Winter WonderlandThe problem, thought, is that while everyone and their brother cranks out holiday CDs, rarely are they done right.  Typically the arrangements are too pop or generic, or the artist tries too hard to create something different that it entirely misses the mark.  To capture the warmth of the season, you must create the proper mood and tone, which is trickier than it sounds.

Being a fan of Patsy Cline, I was floored when I first heard Mandy Barnett sing.  Barnett effortlessly captures the essence of Cline, and it’s no wonder: she played Cline onstage in a tribute play, worked with Cline’s own producers, and uses many musicians from “the good old days” in crafting her music today.  I’d been a fan for some time, but just stumbled onto her 2010 holiday CD, Winter Wonderland, which is really wonderful.

She manages to capture the sounds of the classic tunes of yesterday (think folks like Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Patti Page), but in a way which doesn’t feel dated.  She sings flawlessly, bringing a timeless quality to all of the tunes you know and love.  No surprises here, but that, in the end, is a good thing.  Happy holidays!

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