Christmas came early this year when Sixpence None the Richer reunited after almost four years apart. Making up one of the most imaginative acts to come out of Christian music in the last two decades, Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum amicably went their separate ways in 2004. She focused on raising a family and recording a couple of solo projects; he traveled, got married, and developed younger musicians.
Each had thought of reuniting for some time, but only broached the topic with each other late last year. Nash made it official on her blog in January. She recently told CT, "I missed the music we had made together. I missed it the whole time we were apart."
In July, the duo released a 4-song EP that received lukewarm reviews. Songwriter Slocum concurred. "It's definitely not our best work," he said. "It almost felt like getting the rust out. It's kind of hard to come off a long break and just be brilliant."
But now the two have found that old brilliance again—and, fittingly for fans, with a Christmas album. The Dawn of Grace (Nettwerk) is indeed a yuletide gift, with Nash's inimitable, lilting, childlike voice and Slocum's smart compositions and arrangements. A tasteful mix of classics, covers, and originals, Grace is Sixpence nearly at its best—from the glad opening notes of "Angels We Have Heard on High" to a tender rendition of Alfred Burt's "Some Children See Him" as the closer. Other highlights include the Spanish carol "Riu, Riu, Chiu," the traditional "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," Joni Mitchell's bluesy "River," and the original "The Last Christmas," sung from the perspective of an expectant ...1