A healthy dose of the blues, a touch of jazz and a dollop of pop make Angela C. Howell & Friends 2015 release of An Original Christmas a fun rollick through some familiar carols, spunky new tunes, and some heartwarming originals. Angela’s mature vocals emanate tenderness and poignancy through many of the ballads and lullabies, while also able to deliver brassy and bold on some of the more traditional blues oriented compositions.
This record begins with the title track, “An Original Christmas,” a cowrite with Bob McDonald. This slightly melancholy track poses the question of eliminating many of the traditions from Christmas, while keeping a tender and innocent delivery style, never preaching to the listener, just posing questions. Another new Christmas tune, “Snow Blessings” is a delicate and elegantly composed song about the birth of Christ. Sparse piano and emotive vocals deliver an intimate performance to a classic sounding song. The waltzing “Stranger in Bethlehem” is a lovely addition to this album as well. Two classic carols, “What Child is This,” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” are jazzy renditions that are sure to please. In addition there are a few bluesy originals, “Shimmy Down My Chimney,” “Hey Santa,” and “Christmas Lovin’ Blues.” None ever get too brash or baudy, and are definitely fun for those who enjoy the story of Ol’ Saint Nick. The popular “Snap Me a Selfie, Santa” makes an appearance on this album. In addition, two live recordings of “Beautiful White” and “Christmas Dreams” grace the end of this record.
There are some excellent new songs that are lyrically gorgeous, and sung by the fabulous Angela C. Howell, and she truly is fabulous. Her vocal performance makes each song. Only few other vocalists are able to deliver in such a manner that makes each word important. When Angela sings, artists like Eartha Kitt comes to mind, for those who aren’t familiar, she was an actress and singer many years ago that was well known for making songs come to life and carry weight. Angela brings her acting chops to her singing, and is evident with each song. This album deserves a spot in your Christmas collection. You can either purchase the entire album or the songs you want from CD Baby, but we suggest the entire album. Pick this up and have An Original Christmas this year.