With a handful of artists already releasing holiday projects this week, it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas. Here are a few of the latest CDs to start getting you into a festive mood.
Glory in the Highest
By Chris Tomlin | sixstepsrecords
Chris Tomlin has sold more than 2 million albums, but Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship is the popular artist and worship leader’s first Christmas record.
“It’s a time when people who may not have sung a song the whole year, or their entire life, begin to sing,” he says. “There is something about a Christmas song, whether it’s sung at church or heard by carolers on the street, that gets people to join in song. They sing the songs proclaiming that God has come, has entered this world and made a way for us.”
The album features Christmas classics, including “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy)”—for which Tomlin wrote a new refrain—as well as four new songs. Tomlin said his vision for the album—which features Matt Redman, Christy Nockels and singer-songwriter Audrey Assad—was to transform familiar carols into songs of worship, which is why Glory in the Highest was recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios, formerly a church. He filled the small room with some of his closest friends, worship leaders and industry leaders. The Christmas album’s title was taken from a track on the singer-songwriter’s album See the Morning.
“When the angels came to the shepherds and said to them, ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ they were announcing the birth of Christ, the Almighty,” Tomlin says. “And today, thousands of years later, we are still proclaiming and celebrating the good news.” —Leisa Byars
Click here to purchase this CD.
How Many Kings
By Downhere | Centricity Records
Although Downhere have been around for 10 years, How Many Kings: Songs for Christmas, is the band’s first holiday album. Drummer Jeremy Thiessen says they didn’t want to “pack a whole Christmas record with … anything that was considered all that fluffy.”
“We were very selective in wanting to pick songs that actually said something more than simply, ‘It’s Christmas, let’s party!’ We’re trying to get people to pay attention and unplug from all the running around.”
But make no mistake, this album offers some fun songs, including “5 Golden Rings” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Bassist Glenn Lavender says they recorded at bandmate Jason Germain’s house, which made the songs “very inviting to listen to and makes you feel like you’re with Downhere right there in the living room.”
This album will appeal to Christians and nonbelievers alike. The gospel message is front and center but communicated a bit more subtly than some might expect in a holiday album.
“It’s not just about a baby in a manger, but about the whole story,” guitarist Marc Martel explains. “It’s a look at all the hopes placed on this fragile baby who will eventually grow, take on the sins of the world, be crucified and rise again. There’s a mystery and a wonder behind it and also foreshadowing of what’s to come, which translates to redemption for the lost and the ultimate hope for the future.”
Click here to purchase this album.
Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas
By Yancy | Pure Blue Records
Worship leader Yancy offers a fun, lively, exciting pop-style holiday album with Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas.
Her CD features classics such as “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “The First Noel” and “Joy to the World,” as well Yancy’s own “Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas” and “Christmastime.” The album single, “The Greatest Gift,” beautifully tells how God expressed His far-reaching love with Jesus. Yancy certainly has a musical style that is all her own, but at times her voice is reminiscent of Amy Grant’s.
This accomplished artist, worship leader and songwriter has opened for the likes of Nicole Nordeman and the Newsboys. She co-wrote Avalon’s No. 1 hit “I Don’t Want to Go” and Jaci Velasquez’s “Something Beautiful.” She has also written devotionals for worship leaders and band members. She will be performing Christmas concerts across the United States. Click here for more information.
Click here to purchase this album.
What Christmas Means
By Anthony Evans | INO Records
Anthony Evans’ holiday CD, What Christmas Means, showcases his wide vocal range as he adds his own twist to such holiday favorites as “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” He also includes originals such as “Emmanuel” and contemporary favorites “This Christmas” and “Grown-Up Christmas List.”
For Evans, there is a lot of nostalgia when it comes to Christmastime. “I made this record for my family,” he says. “My fondest memories of the holidays are built around our family’s love of listening to Christmas music, and this album celebrates those memories. And with the variety of songs offered on this CD, I also want to invite the listener in to enjoy their own holiday memories, while reminding them of what Christmas really means.”