How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Barbara Montgomery sings this slow and somber program of Christmas songs with piano accompaniment in a manner suited to the spiritual meaning of this holiday season. It's a time for reflection, for giving, for sharing, and for being there when our loved ones need us. Her prayerful interpretations leave us with humble tidings that weigh heavily on the holiday mood. Forget about jingling bells, Santa Claus, and visions of sugar plums. Consider instead the responsibility that we all bear at this time of the year, to look inside ourselves and to make sure that the true meaning of Christmas rests within us.
I'll Be Home for Christmas opens the album with its seldom-used verse. The glowing embers of a down-home fireplace beckon as Montgomery follows with the familiar lyric. "What Child is This follows with a woeful mourn that asks us to consider the holiday's true purpose. More traditional fare reminds us that the New Year's coming is a time for reflection and a time for making positive changes.
Peter, Paul and Mary gave us "Soalin.' Montgomery and Tom Lawson interpret this piece with a jazz spirit that switches gears in its spiritual mood, from slow and somber to upbeat and fresh. The driving jazz attitude proves quite refreshing.
Montgomery's gospel interpretation of "Children Go Where I Send Thee stands out as the album's high point as she and Lawson pump it up with spirits soaring. The music gives us all the strength that we need in order to completely fulfill our unselfish needs at this time of devout reflection.
Track Listing: I'll Be Home for Christmas; What Child is This; Lo How a Rose E're Blooming/Coventry Carol; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Carol of the Children; O Come O Come Emmanuel; Soalin'; Children Go Where I Send Thee; O Holy Night; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Personnel: Barbara Montgomery: vocals; Tom Lawson: piano; Barry Sames: piano (9).