Until now, it seemed like any attempt to challenge Darlene Love's version of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home") – except for U2 and Bono's worthy take – was a waste of good studio time. However, Nicki Bluhm's soulful belting of the song on her "Buon Natale "holiday EP is something special. This brief, five-song release is a delight, from start to finish.
The project's other cover, "Someday At Christmas," also treads on equally sacred ground, as it was first made famous by Stevie Wonder. Once again, Bluhm does the song justice, while tamping it down significantly. The new songs include "Magic (Christmas is Here)," which is a pretty piano ballad. A second fresh one, "Everyone's Getting Love for Christmas," is a cranked-up old school rocker. This EP's title track is a kind of old-world gypsy jazz piece. It's like celebrating a European vacation Christmas in song.
Music fans enjoy it when artists take chances with their music. It's especially heartening whenever these risks pay off. In a year when Carrie Underwood has also released a big budget, hugely orchestrated holiday album, Nicki Bluhm's sweet little offering might fly under the radar. Don't let that happen, though, because this one is a true gift.