REVIEW: ‘Christmas: Joy to the World’ a collection of faithful singers

New CD features Andrew Peterson, Lauren Daigle, more
Nov. 14, 2013 @ 01:05 PM

Centricity Music has just released a collection of Christmas songs sung by its artists including Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, Lauren Daigle and Unspoken. The Christian pop singers and songwriters contribute to an album that ushers you into the season with spiritual songs for clapping and contemplation. The crisp, clear voices of the individual singers come through on “Christmas: Joy to the World.”

The first track, “Light of the World” by Lauren Daigle, has a light pop but sincere feel. “The First Noel,” also by Daigle, who is new to Centricity, shows that she can hold her own. It’s nice to hear a woman’s voice in a genre often filled with male singers at the forefront.

“Joy to the World” by Jason Gray is light, airy, celebratory and uplifting. Gray had his own collection of Christmas recordings released last year, “Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy.”

“Christmas: Joy to the World” also features “Long, Long Ago” by Andrew Peterson, who will bring his “Behold the Lamb of God” tour back to Durham for a concert Dec. 7 at Church of the Good Shepherd. It’s Peterson’s 14th year of the tour. Gray was among those who have previously performed with him in Durham. Next month Gray will be on his own Christmas tour in other states.

“What Child Is This” by Carrollton, guitars strumming a little harder, shows its versatility beyond a hymn. “Feliz Navidad” by Unspoken is a nice take on the bilingual classic. “How Many Kings” by Downhere is the title track from their Christmas album a few years ago. “Asleep in the Hay” by Jonny Diaz is a nice alternative to “Away in a Manger” for a song about the baby who started it all.

If you’re ready to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, this album will ease you in with familiar and new songs by your favorite Christian music performers. It slows you down a bit so you pay attention to each word sung and the meaning behind it. Or wait until the hustle and bustle of December and set adrift on the sounds of the season, slowing down for a peaceful listen.