Thursday, October 2, 2008

10 Holiday CDs out this October

Christmas for me is such a grand musical event, and I cannot let a year pass without adding to my growing collection of holiday music. Unfortunately however for us in the Philippines, the array to choose from has not been widening in proportion to the material being produced around the globe. Ok, so there has been a fair amount of Filipino Christmas CDs out there, but beyond that, much of what we have on the shelves are aged stocks (though recently I must admit, there has been a wealth of Disco and Bossa Christmas music).

So I have resorted to ordering some holiday music abroad, requesting friends and relatives to bring them home; well this year will not be an exception. This month alone, so many Christmas CDs are being released in the U.S., many of which I fear will not see the light of day here. Ten that have intrigued me are in a list below. 

If you have kababayans scheduling a trip back home, why not request for a copy of any one of these?

CHRISTMAS DUETS (Elvis Presley) Here's a collection of previously recorded holiday tunes from Presley, but with overdubs from current bigwigs in the industry--Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Olivia Newton-John, and Anne Murray to name some. The duets ought to appeal to a broad age range with a particular fondness for the wintry yet cozy attitude of a country Christmas. Get the new Elvis Christmas CD here: CHRISTMAS DUETS

THE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION (Amy Grant) The fourth Christmas project from gospel great, Amy Grant features the best from her previous holiday CDs but adds 4 new tracks (1 with hubby Vince Gill) for a total of 18. Those who don't have her earlier Christmas work will love the 6-time Grammy awardee's rendition of GROWN-UP CHRISTMAS LIST and BREATH OF HEAVEN. Order her new CD here: THE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION

CHRISTMAS (Al Jarreau) After 40 years in the music industry, jazz, R&B, and pop legend (only he has Grammys in all genres) Al Jarreau releases his first yuletide album aptly titled, CHRISTMAS. Here, the artist lends his unique vocal stylings to a dozen Christmas classics. Those who watched his recent concert with George Benson in Manila might want to get Jarreau's latest work (following his album in 2006). To pre-order the album, click here: CHRISTMAS

I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (Brian McKnight) A holiday CD of 12 tracks, the album showcases the R&B singer's twist on Christmas favorites, some in tandem with other great talents. Josh Groban lends a hand in ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH, and Take 6 grooves it up with BLESS THIS HOUSE. Watch out for the special participation of Brian McKnight Jr. and Nikolas McKnight. Check out the CD here: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

PEACE ON EARTH (Casting Crowns) The Christian soft rock band recognized by both the Grammy and Dove Awards releases its first Christmas CD, PEACE ON EARTH. With the project, the group hopes to point listeners to the deeper meaning of songs sung for generations, many of which were written from a place of searching and desperation. The album promises to be insightful and moving. Order it here: PEACE ON EARTH

A NEW THOUGHT FOR CHRISTMAS (Melissa Etheridge) For her latest yuletide project, Melissa Etheridge asks the question: If we're all talking about peace on earth, what if we all concentrated on peace on earth and made it happen? The CD is a rock, blues, jazz, mix of 10 traditional and newly composed songs to celebrate a spiritual time of the year. Listen to some samples: A NEW THOUGHT FOR CHRISTMAS

MY KIND OF HOLIDAY (Elliot Yamin) American Idol alumnus Elliot Yamin releases MY KIND OF HOLIDAY, which is essentially the Christmas album exclusively distributed by Target stores last year, with the addition of 2 new tracks. The collection presents Yamin's pop R&B style in such fresh yuletide songs as CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CAROL and BACKDOOR SANTA. My fave is his rendition of THIS CHRISTMAS. Pre-order the CD here: MY KIND OF HOLIDAY

IT'S CHRISTMAS (Ledisi) Twice Grammy-nominated R&B singer Ledisi lets loose her soaring interpretation of 12 Christmas tracks (5 written for the album), in this jazz and blues influenced set. Fans of the traditional Christmas sound will be challenged by the artist's earthy, inventive style, but Ledisi's fans will be ecstatic. To have a sample of the work and to order the CD, click here: IT'S CHRISTMAS

A SWINGIN' CHRISTMAS (Tony Bennet) What's Christmas without swing, and what's swing without Tony Bennet? The man dishes out the most loved classic holiday tunes like SILVER BELLS, MY FAVORITE THINGS, and THE CHRISTMAS WALTZ, all with that brand of razzmatazz he has been associated with all these years. And accompanying him? The Count Basie Big Band, no less. Check this out to pre-order a copy: A SWINGIN' CHRISTMAS

SONGS OF JOY & PEACE (Yo-Yo Ma & Friends)
With 22 tracks, something tells me this is the big buy this Christmas. The famed cellist's SONGS OF JOY & PEACE is described as a musical party inspired by the season. It gathers music greats James Taylor, Dave Brubeck, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Alison Kraus, plus many more to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Day. The album even comes with a bonus 60-minute DVD. Take a look: SONGS OF JOY & PEACE

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