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Pam Tillis

Just in Time for Christmas – 2007 (Stellar Cat)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Pam Tillis

Pam Tillis takes a supper club approach to Christmas music. It may be the holiday season, but Tillis has put male/female relationships prominently under her tree, right along with all her other presents.

Songs like "Christmas Waltz," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas" all point out the social nature of this popular season. Many arrangements sound the way a piano man might sing them at his piano bar. For instance, get a load of the tinkling piano on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Tillis notes: ""Christmas Waltz" and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" are sung in a style that I haven't had much opportunity to indulge in since my college jazz band. I love Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, and Julie London." These artists were clearly inspirations for much of this work.

A partnership with dad, Mel, on "The Rockin' Christmas Medley" is a nice touch. And her cover of "Pretty Paper," with its pedal steel coloring, injects this otherwise cosmopolitan recording with a little classic country.

This is an ambitious undertaking, but an experienced Tillis carries it all off with ease.