I'm about to gush about Over the Rhine again. I know I've gushed about 'em before; I'd apologize if I were sorry.
But before the floodgates open, lemme 'splain somethin' to ya. I don't much care for Christmas music. Not right now, anyway. And, in fact, I don't much care for Christmas-the-American-holiday, either. But that's another post. I'm sure that my distaste for the current state of the holiday flavors my perception of the music that surrounds it. Or maybe I'm a fuddy-duddy. Or curmudgeon. Maybe I'd like more of the music if it didn't usually stink.
One side note to the side note. The music at my church this year for our Christmas brunch/kids program/celebration was outstanding. A mini-choir with multi-part harmony in the vocals; carols sung in their entirety (It turns out that The First Noel doesn't have to be slow, boring, or tedious if you keep things up-tempo. And you get the full story. Pretty sweet.); and with familiar songs and lots of guests, people sing louder and, I think, with more joy.
To sum up: most Christmas music = ick. It even keeps me away from stores at Christmas time. I don't care, need, or want to hear Celine Dion singing about naughty-and-nice while I'm shopping at Lowe's for a shiny! new! toilet plunger.
Back to the gush. Over the Rhine recently released their second full-length Christmas/holiday CD, Snow Angels. I have never listened to their first, but if its quality is anything close to Snow Angels, I'd consider spending my pretty pennies to get it. Snow Angels is Christmas music I can whole-heartedly enjoy rather than endure. There's a little bit of love, some sincere singing about Jesus and remembrance of His birth, and even a jazzed-up version of "Jingle Bells" that doesn't suck.
This is an album to which I would listen at any time of the year, not just at Christmas time.
Ok... so not much of a gush. I'm still learning how to do it right. For more reviews, see here. You can (and should) order a copy from here.