I can’t help but love Christmas. I do! It’s my favorite time of the year, and I get a lot of enjoyment from bands that make special music for the occasion, such as the Flat River Band album called, Christmas Time.
For those that are not familiar with them, Flat River Band consists of a trio of brothers, Chad, Andy and Dennijo Sitze. They have managed to record some of the most interesting Country and Americana albums of the last couple of years. Christmas Time is actually a fascinating experiment, because it shows them giving their own spin to some Christmas tunes that have become classics over the years.
One of my personal favorites is the haunting and very appealing update of the standard, O Holy Night. It lets you know from the get-go, that these are the classics that you know and love, but with Flat River Band’s take on them. This is more than confirmed with the next song, Go Tell It on the Mountain, which has a more lighthearted feel to it, with a much more energetic pace, thus giving the album more variety.
I always say that when you do a song about a celebration of such an important holiday as Christmas, you have to put a lot of heart and feeling to it–we get exactly that with Away in a Manger. It’s one of the finest tracks of the whole album, showing the trio at the peak of their powers and at the same time, proving how flexible they are while doing covers.
It’s Christmas Time is a powerful ballad, with a similar feel to the previous track, but delivered in an even much more powerful manner.
I really enjoyed when Flat River Band showed a much more upbeat tempo in their songs, and that is something that we truly see with the following song, the eternal Jingle Bells. Really, is there any other way to do this song justice than with an uplifting and optimistic feel? I personally don’t think so, and this trio of brothers do a great job here. We get something very similar in the next song, I’m Gonna Get That Santa Claus, with them finding a very unique groove to cover this track.
The album ends strong with two very emotional and powerful renditions of What Child Is This and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (We Three Kings), providing a fitting conclusion to what has been a very fun ride. Flat River Band clearly shows their respect and appreciation of these songs, thus offering one of the most solid Christmas albums that I have had the pleasure of listening to.
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