Rhonda Vincent

Christmas Time – 2015 (Upper Management)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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The very thought of Rhonda Vincent, with her lovely voice and wonderful musicianship, ought to sell many on her new Christmas album, "Christmas Time." She performs some of the best loved Christmas songs, ranging from a reverent "Angels We Have Heard on High," to a celebratory western swing of "Jingle Bells." "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" also benefits from a reverence similar to that applied to "Angels We Have Heard On High." But no matter the mood, Vincent performs splendidly throughout.

Even so, the chance to hear Dolly Parton appropriately sing its "eight maids a-milking" during the usually annoying "12 Days of Christmas" is worth the price of admission alone. On it, Willie Nelson gets to sing about 11 pipers, er, piping. Other star participants include the Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels, Lorrie Morgan, Ronnie Milsap and Pam Tillis.

One of the four songs Vincent wrote especially for this project is a sad one called "Christmas Time." Much like "I'll Be Home for Christmas," it expresses how difficult it is to be apart from ones we dearly love at Christmas. It's performed slow and mournfully, but with beautiful acoustic instrumentation, including a crying fiddle. The similarly named "Christmas Time at Home" is much happier. It lyrically mingles together all the great times spent during Christmas at home. "Milk & Cookies" is ready made for the young ones, as it is put to a jaunty beat and tells about the snacks oftentimes left for the busy Santa on Christmas Eve.

It's rare to find an album, like this one, which hits so many different marks so accurately. If you're in search for an album that satisfies a traditional country music craving, as well as a Christmas wish for new holiday music, look no further than Vincent's lovely musical celebration.