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Mindy Smith

My Holiday

(Vanguard; US: 9 Oct 2007; UK: 3 Dec 2007)

Most Christmas albums are forgettable cash-ins by artists who really ought to know better. That’s not the case with Mindy Smith, who gives us one of the year’s best holiday discs. Despite the fact that she has only two albums to her credit, Smith has quickly established herself as an intriguing artist who blends her faith into her music without sounding overly preachy. So My Holiday‘s overtly religious songs, such as “Away in a Manger” and “Follow the Shepherd Home”, really find Smith in her element. My Holiday, though, also recalls childhood’s sense of wonder on “Santa Will Find You” and the relaxed comfort that many of us look forward to on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song”. In addition to the standards, My Holiday boasts five originals, with a particular standout being the Thad Cockrell-assisted “I Know the Reason”. Smooth, quiet, and relaxed, the largely acoustic My Holiday is perfect background music for decorating the tree, but it also holds up to active listening. Which is more than you can say for most of the big-name discs that will clutter the shelves this season.

Rating:

Andrew Gilstrap is a freelance writer living in South Carolina, where he's able to endure the few weeks each year that it's actually freezing (swearing a vow that if he ever moves, it'll be even farther south). Aging into a fine curmudgeon whose idea of heaven is 40 tree-covered acres away from the world, he increasingly wishes he were part of a pair of twins, just so he could try being the kinda evil one on for size. Musically, he's always scouring records for that one moment that makes him feel like he's never heard music before, but he long ago realized he needs to keep his copies of John Prine, Crowded House, the Replacements, Kate Bush, and Tom Waits within easy reach.


Tagged as: mindy smith
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