Carrie Underwood - My Gift
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My Gift (RCA Nashville, 2020)

Carrie Underwood

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

It makes logical sense that Carrie Underwood, arguably mainstream country music's best pure vocalist, would make a Christmas album. And make no mistake about it, this is a 'Christmas' album, as opposed to a 'holiday' release. These 11 tracks are nearly all spiritual in nature. Therefore, you won't hear about Santa, reindeer or even toys under the tree.

The only truly secular track is "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," which is not – by a long stretch – the merriest of all carols. Underwood sings this song, which wishes for troubles to be miles away, over a relatively stripped down, acoustic guitar-accompanied arrangement. As the title for one of the newly written songs helps to illustrate, this album is mostly about "Sweet Baby Jesus."

One wouldn't use the word 'innovative' to describe most of these recordings. Rather, Underwood keeps these performances classy, but predictable. Another new song, "Hallelujah," is a quietly thoughtful duet that also features John Legend. Of the freshly written inclusions, "Let There Be Peace" is the project's most upbeat track, as it's built around an enjoyable, hand-clapping gospel choir arrangement.

Underwood's version of "Little Drummer Boy" amps up the cuteness factor because it features the singing of her young son, Isaiah Fisher, on it. She closes with two Christmas lullabies, "Away In A Manger" and "Silent Night." Underwood, not surprisingly, sings each beautifully sensitively.

Underwood's album is so decidedly devout you could play it over the PA prior to a Christmas eve church service. Everyone will enjoy this collection because Underwood is just so good. However, Christians will likely love it the most.

CDs by Carrie Underwood

My Savior, 2021 My Gift, 2020 Cry Pretty, 2018 Storyteller, 2015 Greatest Hits: Decade #1, 2014 Blown Away, 2012 Play On, 2009 Carnival Ride, 2007

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