Friday, December 24, 2010

Need Some Christmas Cheer? (or I'm loving Brian Houston's Christmas album, Joy to the World)

I think what I love the most about Brian Houston's recently released "Joy to the World" is that it makes me smile and snap my fingers.

I don't have an extensive collection of Christmas music so I'm no expert on what's on offer out there, but I do know that I've culled from my small collection because Christmas music needs to some how sparkle. The albums that have stayed in play over the years include a collection of carols done mostly with flute (very pretty), an old Vineyard cd of Christmas music, (dear and unpretentious), a disc put out by The African Children's choir, (cheerful and sweet), and the legendary Sufjan Stevens Christmas album from 2006, (piercingly tender and generally heart breaking.)

Brian's album comes along with an entirely new take on it all and I am refreshed and made childishly giggly by it. Some how, the Irish artist moves from shades of Elvis to happy shuffle to Celtic roots while keeping the whole thing smooth and united in it's warm, grounded joyfulness. His voice is not Sunday school but street and pub and I have a feeling Martin Luther would sing just like him if he was with us today.

This offering, then, emphasizes the Happy in "Happy Christmas." It really sounds like a group of friends having fun together, which, I suppose, it is. But don't misunderstand "happy" to be cheesy or trite. As always, Houston's work touches some chord in me as it plainly reveals truth in a most down-to-earth and user-friendly way.

I hope you'll buy the album and enjoy it with me. Check it out here .

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