01. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 02. Jingle Bells 03. The Christmas Song 04. Christmas Morning 05. The First Noel 06. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town 07. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 08. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 09. O Holy Night 10. This Christmas
What's a hard rock guitarist to do when they get into the holiday spirit? Put together a Christmas album, of course. Mark Tremonti (CREED, ALTER BRIDGE and TREMONTI) is doing exactly that with his debut holiday album, "Christmas Classics New & Old". But, before you get ready to shred, what's fascinating about this record is just how traditional it sounds. Don't expect a rocked-out version of your favorite holiday tune. Instead, Tremonti serves up a very traditional-sounding record. In fact, if you didn't know it was Tremonti singing and playing here, you might think it was your standard pop artist making a holiday collection.
Not that sounding traditional is a bad thing. If anything, the classic, warm sound on "Christmas Classics New & Old" is refreshing coming from someone as seeped in hard rock as Tremonti. As with his album of Frank Sinatra covers, he shows that he's an incredibly versatile player.
"Christmas Classics New & Old" begins with "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year", which ushers in classic-sounding horns and sleigh bells, before Tremonti comes in with his warm baritone, singing the holiday classic. On this song, and most of record's traditional holiday songs, there are few surprises. The arrangements stay true to the originals, making this an album for the whole family.
While "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" sounds orthodox, the album's next track, "Jingle Bells", sounds even more like it belongs on "It's A Wonderful Life"'s soundtrack. "Jingle Bells" begins with, yes, jingle bells, and launches into a caroling anthem, with a team of carolers spreading the holiday cheer.
"The Christmas Song" is a highlight on the set, as there's something about the track's warm atmospheres and sonics that make you feel ensconced next to a roaring fire with hot cocoa. The song's slippery, slick production really fits, as well. Next up is another strong point, a Tremonti original called "Christmas Morning". This song features understated instrumentals and Tremonti's comforting vocals, as he sings about waiting for Christmas and looking forward to snuggling with his lady and watching kids open Christmas gifts. Other traditional holiday songs also sound especially festive, such as "Let It Snow" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".
If someone in the 1990s were to have said Mark Tremonti from CREED would one day release a Christmas record, it would have been a pretty unbelievable statement. But, here we are, and this release just shows how much he and his generation of musicians has grown and evolved. The collection is a refreshing and timeless release that will likely please fans of traditional holiday music. It's also ageless, so "Christmas Classics New & Old" can be enjoyed for decades to come.
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