The second studio album from the Canadian Tenors (Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray, Remigio Pereira, Fraser Walters) features 12 holiday classics, including “Silent Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “What Child Is This? (Carol of the Bells),” and “O Viens Emmanuel" (O Come Emmanuel). The aptly titled Perfect Gift was released through Decca in 2009 in North America, and in 2010 in the United Kingdom., Rovi
Andrea Bocelli's 2009 My Christmas album finds the Italian tenor performing various classic holiday-themed songs that touch on a mix of classical, opera, and pop. Included are such well-known holiday songs as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "O Tannenbaum," and "Silent Night." The versatile Bocelli also delves into such iconic Christmas hits as "Blue Christmas" and "The Christmas Song" (featuring a duet with Natalie Cole). Of course, the opera and classic songs are Bocelli's bread and butter, and here listeners get such lavishly produced cuts as "Adeste Fidelis," "Cantique del Noel," and "Caro Gesu Bambino." My Christmas is not only a warm and inviting holiday album, but also a superb classical crossover entry worthy of Bocelli's discography.
Matt Collar, Rovi
Released half a year after What We Want, What We Get, this holiday album finds Dave Barnes casually occupying the intersection between pop, adult contemporary, acoustic folk, and Christian music. Barnes’ Southern roots are on full display here; each song plays up the soulful swagger of his voice, and he keeps the arrangements relatively sparse, relying on a mix of acoustic guitar, brushed percussion, and Hammond organ that conjures up images of after-hours jazz clubs. Thad Cockrell, another Deep South songwriter with ties to the CCM scene, makes an appearance on “Mary & Joseph,” and Barnes fills the title track with gospel harmonies courtesy of Tennessee friends Drew Ramsey, Shannon Sanders, and Scat Springs. The highlight, though, is his duet with Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott on “Christmas Tonight,” a Barnes original that takes its cues from the Frank Loesser standard “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Some perfectly fine covers are tossed into the mix, too, including Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but Very Merry Christmas functions best as a showcase for Barnes’ songwriting and singing, both of which are in fine form throughout.
Andrew Leahey, Rovi