Saturday, December 9, 2017

G4-G4 Christmas (2015)


It's about that time of the year again when I start busting out with the holiday tunes! I had already gotten a head start back in October when I took some time enjoying a selection of music on a Christmas CD by country music star Colin Raye. Then I spent the better part of the past couple of weeks immersing myself in select seasonal favorites playing in rotation on a local Christian contemporary radio station. And now today, I finally got to indulge in the first holiday album by the talented British operatic pop troupe that calls itself G4. An early Christmas gift—or a belated one—for many of you out there, I'm sure, while for me, it was a welcome change of pace from the mainstream—an escape from familiarity and into a place of peace and serenity. I'd almost forgotten how majestic and commanding that these G4 guys are collectively when the show opens up with their ringing rendition of the traditional favorite, "O Holy Night", which is one of my personal holiday favorites—a song that always touches me deeply. Love the direction the song takes when the backing choir joins in during the final movements before ending acapella style. Medleys are always a fun way to link individual songs into a nice long one; on "Christmas Medley", they take bits and pieces of "Let It Snow", "Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer",and a couple of other familiar classics and string them together, but there's also a cool twist when the guys on backup sing some of the words to one song while the lead guy continues on singing the words to the other songs. "All I Want For Christmas Is You": Recognized the title to the hit Mariah Carey holiday song; nice hearing this one in its warm, bouncy piano-pop interpretation. "O Come All Ye Faithful": I always look forward to hearing alternate interpretations of this other traditional favorite of mine, and the G4 guys do this one up in supreme royalty! They are joined by the amazing choir as soon as the song starts (which prominently features an organ that gives the music a heavenly, symphonic glow), and totally bring down the house when their voices are on the rise during their delivery of the second verse (the part that goes 'sing with exaltation'). Speaking of amazing, it was perfectly fitting for them to include a beautiful rendering of perhaps the greatest hymn in the gospel songbook: "Amazing Grace" This one always instills a sense of peace and calm inside of me, and giving it an extra intimate feel is G4's beautiful acapella harmony while performing it. "Silent Night": yet another personal favorite from the traditional holiday song catalog that begins quietly and innocently enough.....that is, until the G4 guys sneak up on you with the breakout vocal explosion! Discovered a few new ones I'd never heard before to my Christmas collection: the peaceful and mellow "Away In A Manger", the humbling guitar-driven "Bring Him Home" and the powerful show-stopper that is "Once In Royal David's City". And I now invite you to discover something new on this "G4 Christmas" album yourself.....or perhaps, re-discover your annual favorites that simply never get old with the passing of time:

1. O Holy Night
2. Christmas Medley
   -Let It Snow
   -White Christmas
   -Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
   -I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
3. Panis Angelicus
4. All I Want For Christmas Is You
5. Good King Wenceslas
6. Away In A Manger
7. O Come All Ye Faithful
8. Amazing Grace
9. Once In Royal David's City
10. Bring Him Home
11. Silent Night

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