Tuesday, November 01, 2005

That Time of Year

I love Christmas music. It is one of my favorite things about Christmas. I grew up singing it in school choirs and have since developed a passion for it. To keep my passion in check, I've had to adopt two rules. We only listen to it from Halloween to Christmas and the first album played is always: An Evening in December by First Call.

I first heard this album in the winter of 1989, when my roommate Chris Smith played it for me on cassette. We also had a copy in the Music Haus on vinyl. I got my own copy when I found it on cd in a bargain bin at a music store in the mall a few years later and I still have it. It has spot on the first track where it always hangs, but that hasn't kept it from the top of my Christmas list since I bought it 10 years ago.

The arranging and creativity on this recording are timeless. It is a cappella, so the vocal talents of First Call shine through on every track. It weaves through the season with updates of classic hymns and fresh covers of contemporary songs. I'm partial to One Small Child for the simplicity with which David Meece nails the melody and the message annoucing the King.
One king bringing his gold and his riches
One king ruling an army of might
One king kneeling with incense and candlelight
One King bringing us life
Also, don't miss the 5/4 meter found in O Come, O Come Emmanuel--genius.

It is still available at Amazon and I've also seen it on Rhapsody.


Blogger Ike Graul said...

You can thank David Maddux for the masterful arranging. That (Seattle-based, last time I checked) guy sure knows how to pull the emotion and energy from the music. He's had a major influence on my arranging over the years.

You can also tell that Gene Purling and the Singers Unlimited Christmas albums have had a major influence on him. If you haven't heard them, you might want to check them out.

Tue Nov 01, 06:53:00 AM PST  
Blogger kristi w said...

My favorite Christmas album is the one you and Christa put together as a gift a few years ago. It's still a little too early for me, but give a couple of weeks and it'll be time.

Tue Nov 01, 12:59:00 PM PST  
Blogger Carol said...

I bought my copy of "An Evening in December" after you introduced me to it. I found it on E-bay. I notice that they are more expensive now.
I enjoy the J & C Christmas album also.

Tue Nov 01, 10:32:00 PM PST  
Anonymous rolonac said...

we akways put the Hill christmas cd on at christmas. We will have to check out" An Evening in December".

Wed Nov 02, 07:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger wyowoman said...

Between this post, and all the scrapbooking sites ( who are also starting christmas), I may have to pull out my christmas music too!
Bwaa...it's too early!
and can you give Christa this link I don't know anyother way to reach you guys. and tell her it is my very favorite font!

Wed Nov 02, 10:37:00 PM PST  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

oh man, christmas music is one of my weaknesses. thanks for the album suggestion. "it's beginning to sound alot like christmas... every where you go..."

Thu Nov 03, 05:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tim Lewis said...

I was listening to Chris Rice's Christmas album (piano instrumental) as I read this. Begin the Christmas playlist!

Sun Nov 06, 11:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

Tim, I was just listening to that yesterday, as a matter of fact I put it on as I crawled into bed and then couldn't sleep because I kept wanting to hear it. I'll credit C.Rice with one of my favorite modern hymns--Welcome to Our World. (Don't miss Amy singing it on A Christmas to Remember.)

Ike, right on with the Singers Unlimited--studio musicians rock!

Hope all of you are ready for some serious yule-tunes talk around here for the next couple of weeks, I think I hear the Carpenters in the distance...

Mon Nov 07, 12:12:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tim Lewis said...

Rockapella's got a great version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch".

Ok...I'm a nerd.

Wed Nov 09, 12:56:00 PM PST  
Blogger Adam Wolfgang said...

You've inspired me! Nothing says Christmas more than the Carpenters singing "These things are the wonderful things we remember all through our lives!" Man I love that song.
Diana Krall has a new Christmas album out now that is great, I just listned to it on Rhapsody.

Sun Nov 13, 09:48:00 PM PST  

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