Holiday Review: Celtic Thunder-Classic Christmas Album

Release Date: October 2, 2015
Label: Sony Legacy

Celtic Thunder has been brightening spirits with their amazing vocals and world class performances since their inception in 2007. Current members include Neil Byrne, Emmett O'Hanlon, Emmet Cahill, Colm Keegan, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Damian McGinty, Paul Byrom and George Donaldson. This compilation of holiday music is a must for any fan.
“Carol of the Bells” is the first tune on the album. It is a twisting musical confection that is pure holiday magic. Crisp tones, joyful voices, melodic music ranging from horns to chimes and floating string and the jingle of bells all combine for an elemental introduction to this wonderful album. It was composed and written by Mykola Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky.

“In the Bleak Mid-Winter” was composed and lyrics created by Gustav Holst and Christina Rossetti. Performed with Celtic textures at the onset, the piece quickly morphs into a piano movement with light musical flutterings in the background. The vocals and pipe sounds reach into the still and lonely parts that this time of year can really make stark and utterly clear. Love of God warms the soul as the singer remembers the reason for the holiday and the angels that walked among us to give the child safe passage. “What can I give him poor as I am?” This rings true for so many of us these days. What value do we offer when we can’t buy the things we desire or give others the gifts they want. The answer is the same as it always was. Love. It is the beginning and the end of all things and with it, we can conquer the world.

“Fairytale of New York” is the last piece on the album. Written and composed by Shane MacGowan and Jem Finer this song captures the Celtic reality in all of its glory. Soft and sweet with pipes and lilting dance music, it swings into a rowdy bar ballad among other things. Awash in regret but dreaming of the days ahead, the vocalists bring to life the myriad of emotions that make a man. Drink and food and laughter bring us all together but in the end, we each of us make the other strong.

The Classic Christmas Album is a wonderful compilation of Celtic holiday music, both traditional and original. The vocalists’ voices join forces to bring us a glimpse into the sounds of the heavens or the lowest bar in midtown. There is light in the darkness and if you listen to this music you might just feel a bit of warmth this holiday season. I highly recommend it.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Carol of the Bells, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, Fairytale of New York

01. Carol of the Bells (1:24)
02. Gaudete (2:22)
03. Mary Did You Know? (3:09)
04. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1:55)
05. In the Bleak Mid-Winter (4:12)
06. Gabriel’s Message (2:50)
07. Christmas Medley: Sleigh Ride, Here Comes Santa Claus, Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (6:00)
08. Away in a Manger (2:40)
09. Comfort Ye (2:50)
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1:58)
11. The Christmas Song (3:34)
12. Oh Holy Night (4:44)
13. O Come All Ye Faithful (3:47)
14. Fairytale of New York (4:00)

Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
December 16, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

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