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The Christmas Collection by Amy Grant

Reviewed by Tracy Darlington

"Long time Grant fans as well as new ones won’t be disappointed with Grant’s latest offering. It’s the Amy we know and love."

It’s been three years since we’ve heard from Amy Grant (Rock of Ages... Hymns of Faith). And now that the temperature is dropping and the leaves are turning she’s set to release “The Christmas Collection” on September 30. But wait a minute - doesn’t Amy already have three Christmas albums under her belt? Well, yes. But there are four new recordings on this project, one of which features a special guest appearance from daughter Corrina (“I Need A Silent Night”). Amy says, “The highlight for me on this song was having her record the Luke account of The Christmas Story. I’m glad we have my daughter’s voice on this track.”

There’s a caffeinated version of “Jingle Bells” with some snazzy triplets thrown into the rhythm for flair. It and a few others almost have the feel of a score from a musical. Several pieces are backed by an orchestra, and Amy’s voice blends well with the instrumentation.

Another one of the new tracks is “Count Your Blessings”, a romantic jazz number. Grant sings this one almost as if it’s a lullaby. “Baby, It’s Christmas” was co-written with her husband, Vince Gill, something we haven’t seen a lot. You’ll be familiar with all the rest of the cuts, from her earlier holiday albums.

Grant isn’t reinventing the wheel here. The Christmas Collection features many of the traditional holiday favorites we’ve all grown to know and love over the years including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, “Silent Night”, and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. And let’s not forget the perennial favorite “Breath of Heaven”.

It would have been nice to have included more new songs - either original pieces or new renditions of old ones. But the minute you load “The Christmas Collection” onto your iPod you’ll want to light up a fire and watch the snow fall outside, even if you live in Hawaii. And that’s what any Christmas album should do.

Amy will be hitching up her sleigh in early December, hitting 15 cities with husband Vince, who will also be featured. Long time Grant fans as well as new ones won’t be disappointed with Grant’s latest offering. It’s the Amy we know and love. So grab your jingle bells - you’re in for a great holiday treat.

Tracy DarlingtonTracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.