A Joyful Violin Holiday Album
Bruce Von Stiers
There are musicians who start in one direction then moves in a different one. Susan Holloway is one of those musicians. She was trained as a child in classical music. But being raised in Memphis gave Susan a wide spectrum of music to listen to and learn from.
Susan recorded a holiday album titled Breath of Heaven that was fairly well received. I just finished writing a review of the album myself. Susan followed up that album with a brand new holiday release this year. The title of the new album is, fittingly, Joy To The World.
The artists that were on previous holiday album also performed on this one. Chris Rodriguez was on guitar and David LaBruyere was on bass. Bobby Blazier once again played the drums and Demarco Johnson played the piano, B3 and keyboards. Additional musicians on the album were Javier Solis on percussion and Michael Rinne on upright bass.
As with the previous holiday recording, Bobby Blazier produced this one. Jeremy Hunter did the engineering, mixing and mastering on the album. It was recorded at the Tracking Room in Nashville.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is the first song on the album. It is done with a modern, pop rock styling. The violin and guitar are pretty cool in the song.
Mashups seem to be a thing these days. Susan includes one for the second song on the album. The song is Joy To The World. It has parts of the traditional holiday tune and also parts of the Joy To The World song that Three Dog Night made famous. And the back had yet another part that I couldn't quite identify but was as cool as the rest of the song.
Another cool song on the album is Little Drummer Boy. Once again, Susan moves away from the traditional arrangements. Here there is a mix of light country and pop rock.
Susan's arrangement of Mary Did You Know was wonderful. She added an almost haunting tone to the song at first. Then there was subtle piano and guitar backing her violin.
There was a cool, rock anthem beginning to Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. Then things slow down a bit. But only a little bit. This rendition is really cool. It's my favorite song on the album.
The album then moves into a slight R &B groove with Do You Hear What I Hear.
My Favorite Things gets a smooth jazz groove sound.
White Christmas slows things down. Susan pretty much keeps to the original arrangement of the song.
A real heartwarming holiday song is I'll Be Home For Christmas. Susan does a great job with this endearing classic.
The album closes with the song Peace. It is soft and gentle, with subtle violin and piano work.
I really enjoyed Susan Holloway's first holiday album. But she has gone far beyond that first album with the new arrangements of holiday classics. I thought the rock anthem styling of Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel especially appealing.
To find out more about Joy To The World, visit https://www.susanhollowaymusic.com/
Susan also has a Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/susanhollowaymusic/
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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers