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No matter your musical style, there's certainly a new Christmas album just for you in 2009. This year's new holiday choices include everything from vintage soul to modern worship, from light rock to indie pop, from bluegrass to contemplative folk—it's all here. CT music writer Andrew Greer sorted through piles of records to review this season's great, the not-so-great, and the, well, let's just say some might deserve a humbug.

Starting with the cream of the crop …


Style: Pop-sensitive rock 'n' roll; compare to Ben Folds Five and U2

Top tracks: "Silent Night," "What Child Is This?"

Taking a hint from radio's hefty support of last year's Christmas-themed single, Downhere decided to back up the buzz with a full-fledged holiday album. Known for their high-energy live show and tight production, the Canadian rockers take it one step further, using the "most wonderful time of the year" to pull out all the stops, i.e., a jiving honky-tonk piano, some jolly tubas and festive funk-rock arrangements. But it is the quiet haunt of "Silent Night" and the hallowed, Simon & Garfunkel-ish treatment of "What Child Is This?", partially sung in French, that make this album a holiday shining star.


Ayiesha Woods

Christmas Like This (Gotee)

Style: Vintage R&B/soul; compare to Lou Rawls, Indie.Arie, Alicia Keys

Top tracks: "Merry Christmas Baby," "O Come All Ye Faithful"

With a bluesy rasp that could warm even Scrooge's cold heart, soul singer/songwriter Ayiesha Woods' first Christmas record is full of fun and faith.  Roasting the season with both sacred and secular tunes, Christmas Like ...

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November 2009

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