[7 October 2008]
Whenever Sixpence None the Richer vocalist Leigh Nash sings, she does so with the joy of a small child opening presents on Christmas morning. She’s the vocal equivalent of that little girl the Grinch runs into during his ill-fated attempt to steal Christmas. Thus, The Dawn of Grace is like an extension of Nash’s everyday persona: consistent candy cane sweetness, through and through. Sure, there are few surprises here; but that doesn’t mean Nash’s duet with Dan (Jars of Clay) Haseltine is nothing less than a pretty paper delight, or that the tropical “Christmas Island” won’t make you think of Don Ho and Hawaii holidays in Santa hats. The latter even includes a country-ish harmonica part, which shouldn’t really fit but does. This disc includes more modern Christmas emotions (such as “River”) than traditional carols (like “Angels We Have Heard on High”), by the way. And musically, gentle acoustic sounds far outweigh big drummer boy rhythms. Hence, The Dawn of Grace amounts to a lovely, albeit slightly melancholy, Christmas.