[29 November 2010]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
The Indigo Girls aren’t the only lesbians in The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music; but while we await a reissue of The Children of the Day Christmas Album, Holly Happy Days will happily suffice. Hot on the heels of last year’s overlooked Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, the Girls’ first holiday album is heavy on the hoedowns, with an all-star bluegrass band racing through the Isaacs’ “I Feel the Christmas Spirit” and the Indigo original “The Wonder Song”. Despite a couple snoozers, Amy and Emily rescue the ponderous “O Holy Night” with their matter-of-fact arrangement. The real story on this album is the sense of community throughout. GLAAD Award nominee Brandi Carlile contributes backing vocals; the recently-out Chely Wright contributes the swingin’ tune “It Really Is a Wonderful Life”. The highlight is Woody Guthrie’s “Happy Joyous Hanukah”, resurrected several years ago by the Klezmatics. With vocal help from Janis Ian—one of two gay people to pen a #1 Christian radio hit—and GLAMA winner Mary Gauthier, it’ll make you spin around the living room like some giddy dreidel. This song simply cannot be recorded enough. Holly Happy Days is exactly as skillful, thoughtful, and fun as you’d expect. Your move, Jennifer Knapp!