by Jason Hoffman
Following her local debut album, When You Love Someone from earlier this year, Amy Lee Moser has once again teamed up with Jon Gillespie at his Monastic Chambers Studios. Together they have chosen a nice variety of Christmas songs, from traditional carols to lesser-known selections from centuries past, to showcase Amy’s amazing voice.
The album begins with an a cappella version of “Away In A Manger” with just enough reverb to make her operatic voice sound as if she’s singing, and later harmonizing, in a huge cathedral. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” is almost a call to worship with triumphant horns and resounding bells that later give way to angelic strings. With a lone acoustic guitar played by Randy Spencer to accompany her vocals, one would think “Oh Holy Night” would feel sparse, but so rich and full is Moser’s voice and the guitar playing so masterful that you will be caught up in the reverent carol. Spencer also plays guitar on “Silent Night” as well as adding some very nice background vocals to this traditional favorite. With instruments like harpsichord and flute (plus some I couldn’t recognize except to say that they sounded baroque), “Bring A Torch, Jeannette Isabella” sounds authentically from the 1600s. Going back to the 12th century is the familiar “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.” However Gillespie has arranged the song to have a more authentic feel with his own monkish vocals serving as a backdrop for light percussion, Amy’s delightful voice, and acoustic guitar. Another nice change is the classical guitar fingerpick playing of Coty Shipe on “What Child Is This?” which, with the addition of light strings later on, brings a calming yet respectful atmosphere to this classic. “The First Noel” is given the full band treatment with a drum kit, bass guitar, a slightly honky-tonk piano, rock organ, electric guitar, soulful backing vocals and a relaxed groove. The final track, “All Through The Night,” begins with low strings and shimmering angelic sounds that bring to mind twinkling starlight to which Moser adds her own angelic voice, bringing the album to a contemplative, tranquil close.
You can add this powerful collection of 13 Christmas carols by stopping by Barnes & Noble, the Anchor Room or by visiting www.amymosersings.com.
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