Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Give Love on Christmas

Artists:   Collaboration, featuring Jars of Clay, Charlie Peacock, Sandra McCracken and others.
Genre:  Christmas, folk, folk-rock, chamber-coustic, and assorted indie sounds.

In the next few days I hope to put out a list of my favorite Christmas albums, and sure to make the list is this little gem… I just discovered – one hour ago.  That is, I am now on my second listen, and I fully expect this little download will get plenty of ear-play.

I must confess, as a CD man, I am not quite used to the idea that you can just get music for free (though you will certainly want to throw in a tip… or more, on this one.)

The offering…”Give Love on Christmas” is just that.   A way to give love, by donating to the Blood:Water Mission, even as the represented artists have given of themselves in this collaboration.

Like all things offered on NoiseTrade, the download itself is free, but I make it a habit to tip artists, sometimes on the spot, or sometimes later after sampling works and agreeing that I will be listening multiple times.

As is, I figure not all these songs were penned for Christmas.  In fact, I know several were not… but are given to the project in the spirit of the same.    For example, it would be hard to call the song Mystic, by Charlie Peacock a Christmas song, except it involves going home.

So what makes this a Christmas gem?  Ten of the eleven tunes are "unkowns" -- while the final song, Oh Come Emanuel, simply happens to be my favorite Christmas hymn.  Add to that, the spirit of the thing. Intelligent, lean production as the norm, the absence of smarmy gloss and fru-fru, and strongly vertical connection.  (At least half the songs highlight the love of God as expressed to his creation through his Son, while the others tend to focus on our call to love one another.

Since you can sample the whole of the album on Noisetrade I won’t go on about the sounds of the various artists, except to say… Dan Hasteltine of Jars of Clay just keeps sounding better and better. 

(I had just started to list my favorite tracks, but that list included ¾ of the offering, I figured I will just let you decide which you like best…. But happy surprise showing by Phil Keaggy, and someone called Sleeping at Last.  (Loved that song)   Oh, and the vocal of Jeannette Isabella and Joy Williams (Civil Wars) and… Rhett, Sandra,  and….I better quit.

thank you to all those who put this little treasure of an "album" in my hands.


Ps.  Now I find that this is not the first Blood-Water Mission collaboration.  Here is an earlier release, - Give Hope this Christmas.  It looks mighty interesting, though also less Christmas focused.