Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Heart

This is a review of the Holiday Heart compilation CD that I wrote for Amplifier magazine a few years back.

On Holiday Heart, 44 acts deliver Christmas and Chanukah greetings in a variety of musical styles. The 2-CD set follows in the snow prints of 2004’s Ho Ho Ho Spice, which was also billed as a Hospice Awareness & Benefit Project.

Leah Zicari’s delicate “Thursday In December” and Otis Gibbs’ Johnny Cash-influenced “Color Wheel” stand out among a multitude of sentimental ballads, but Holiday Heart is most enjoyable when the artists are cutting loose and having fun. Prof. Louie & The Crowmatix underscore the CD’s multi-cultural appeal with the rollicking “Holiday Time Is Here,” while Dan Pavelich (of The Bradburys) taps into vintage ELO and 10CC for his melodic pop tune, “So Glad It’s Christmas.” Last Train Home contributes the C&W toe-tapper “Home For Christmas,” and Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever conjure finger-snapping ‘50s doo wop with “Best Little Christmas.”

Other highlights include Cathy Harrington’s peppy “Sha La La” (which also appeared on the Chris Stamey & Friends Christmas Time collection), Project Pimento’s funny, Latin flavored “That’s Christmas,” The Montgomery Cliffs’ catchy “Christmas Lights,” Ron Sexsmith’s hopeful “Maybe This Christmas,” and Lizanne Knott’s engaging slice of slacker rock, “Merry Christmas.” As with any collection of original holiday songs, one person’s chestnut is another person’s lump of coal, but Holiday Heart should have something to please everyone. Plus, it’s for a good cause.


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