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Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

Christmas Together – 2016 (Pearl)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

Listening to Garth Brooks' and Trisha Yearwood's new holiday album of (mostly) duets, one is once again reminded how Yearwood is one of the most underrated country artists, whereas - if we're being honest -Brooks is a little on the overrated side. For instance, Brooks almost seems to be punching the clock with his vocal on the throwaway "Ugly Christmas Sweater" and then dusting off a retread with "Feliz Navidad," Yearwood sounds like a truly sexy hotty during "Santa Baby." She also sings like a lush big band singer from yesteryear during "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve." And much like her recent spot on Brooks' recent comeback tour, we're left wanting more, much more out of Yearwood.

Brooks is at his best with "Merry Christmas Means I Love You," a song with a lyric crying out for more universal unity during the holiday season. Brooks also meshes well with James Taylor on "What I'm Thankful For (The Thanksgiving Song)."

Yearwood outshines Brooks again with "Hard Candy Christmas," which is one of the saddest Christmas songs ever. Even "The Man With The Bag," another frilly number, brings out Yearwood's unforeseen big band singing skills. The song's arrangement, with its bold brass section, gives Yearwood a sincerely fun arrangement to sing it over.

Although Brooks' big commercial name will attract many to this new holiday collection, it is Yearwood's beautiful singing that ought to keep listeners coming back to it year after year.