Black Music Matters Festival

Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum)

On This Winter's Night – 2012 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum)

With a Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, as with any Lady A music, you know you're going to get some quality, if unspectacular recordings. Therefore, "On This Winter's Night" presents just what you'd expect from this trio, although six of the songs were out two years ago on the EP "A Merry Little Christmas."

The best cut on the CD is a cover of Donny Hathaway's This Christmas, which brings out a soulful side you never knew Lady Antebellum had. It's colored by strings, electric piano and a slightly funky '70s vibe.

Generally, the act sticks with a secular approach to seasonal songs, only dipping into the Biblical Christmas story a few times, most notably with The First Noel. The arrangements are consistently Nashville pop slick, with spot-on vocal harmonies. However, there's no real need to pick up this group's version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), however, when Darlene Love has already done the original and definitive version.

Lady Antebellum makes music for those that don't care for the overly sexualized modern pop music and are convinced that because country radio has adopted this pop act, they're actually listening to real country music. Anybody that's ever heard Reba cry a song, of course, knows better. Play it side by side with other pop Christmas discs, and nobody will even suspect you've tried to sneak country music into the mix.