It’s the season to be jolly!

Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s the season to be jolly, and as Sir Cliff always reminds us, “A time for giving…”, so what better to keep things all festive than a Christmas compilation! Now, I’m one of the first to shout, “Bah-Humbug!” especially at the office stupidity of Secret Santa *shudder*, however this is surprisingly good, mixing in classic Christmas songs with original festive offerings, the only two things that they have in common are that they are from artists under the wing of Bushfire Records, and that these are for the most part chilled acoustic songs about Christmas.

Jack Johnson is probably the biggest artist here, and as such greedily gets two songs, first the opening track of, ‘Someday At Christmas’ which is classic Mr Johnson of one-man-and-a-guitar but with a Crimbo subject; and then later on he gives as a mellow version of ‘Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer’. We also have Mason Jennings’ version of, ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’, which although is done on a couple of acoustic guitars, Mason’s voice is more reminiscent of the version by ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen back in the 80’s. Another of the more famous artists may be Money Mark (also known as Keyboard Money Mark) who was once described at the fourth Beastie Boy, having played keyboards on their 1992 album ‘Check Your Head’, and 1994’s ‘Ill Communication’ before releasing a number of chilled laid back keyboard laden solo albums. His song, ‘Stuck At The Airport’ is classic Money Mark, and is one of the only songs here with any electric instruments, albeit the keyboards sound like a demo programme of deep chords in the background. There are some nice Christmas bells though which I think you’ll agree is a nice bonus.

Elsewhere we have a slightly disjointed and heavily reverberated ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ from Matt Costa, before the label’s newest and only female singer Zee Avi gives us a sad folk tale in ‘No Christmas For Me’ that is strangely upbeat, even if the lyrics speak of being away from a loved one at this time of year. Then there is some Blues/Rock in ‘Christmas Baby’ by G.Love which is the sort of song that you wish all Christmas songs were like. There aren’t enough harmonicas in Christmas songs, I think.

‘Christmas Time’ by ALO ticks all of the boxes for a good slow song: Bells, piano, deep voice, er, slide guitar…well nearly all of the boxes. “There’s a fat man standing at the soda machine,” sings Nail Halstead in, ‘The Man In The Santa Suit’ understanding that this time of year is the only time that it’s good to be fat and hairy. There is a hint of the ‘70’s in ‘Christmas’ by Rogue Wave but this is a great song too, chilled and well written with a nice melody. The final song is, ‘Silent Night’ by Zach Gill, which is good but so slow that it is one to put on repeat if the kids can’t sleep on Christmas Eve. There is an acoustic guitar in the background but this is so quiet that you don’t even notice it, although it could be because my eyelids are becoming heavy…

All in all this is a decent Christmas Album, and dare I say the only one that I would actually purchase. The obvious thing with these albums are just how often are you gong to play them? This does showcase the artists well and if you like your music chilled and laid back bordering on Folk then you can do a lot worse than look up any of these artists! Boy, I’m filled with heavenly peace now…