>As the summer fades and a chill is felt in the air, one of the hardest temptations for the Hibbard family to resist is the temptation to pull out Christmas music early. Our rule is that it can come out the day after Thanksgiving (along with all the decorations!), but would it really hurt to hear a few songs here and there before then?
This year we had an excuse to listen, just once – okay, maybe two or three times – to just a bit of Christmas music. The excuse was the arrival of Downhere’s first Christmas album – an album for which we have long waited.
And our wait was definitely rewarded.
Downhere has succeeded in creating an incredible Christmas album. Eight of the thirteen tracks are traditional carols, which can be quite the challenge when recording Christmas music. After all, many artists have recorded the exact same carols over and over again, creating a redundancy of performance.
Downhere overcame this challenge in two ways. First, they recorded carols that are familiar in tune, but not necessarily in lyric. Most recordings of carols such as “Good King Wenceslas”,”Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella”, and even the beautiful “What Child is This” tend to be a bit sleep-inducing, and therefore frequently ignored. Downhere presented these carols in such a way as to awaken the listener to their beauty. Second, Downhere infused their distinct flavor into each carol. They worked their musical magic, creating arrangements of these tunes that grab the listener and create a desire to hear more.
And yet, the band knows when to respect the beauty of traditional remaining traditional. Their rendition of “Silent Night” has very little Downhere influence in the arrangement. The only flavor adjustment in the hymn is a shift from traditional to distinct Downhere vocal harmonies. The result is beautiful, just as “Silent Night” should be.
A Christmas album is not complete without at least a few original songs. Downhere does not disappoint in this regard either. Two of the songs are previously recorded Christmas favorites, re-released on this album. “How Many Kings” is actually on the album twice, once in the original format and once “re-imagined.” The original version is excellent and could not have been left out, while the new version is definitely worthy of the repeat performance. The remaining two original tracks are still quite new to me, but a single listen through them leaves me hungry to listen again and again until I know every word.
I very highly recommend adding this album to your Christmas collection. For searching ease, click on the album cover to direct you to Amazon.com, or click on the Downhere link to purchase directly from them.
And, if you’re still not convinced (or, even if you are but would like a much more fun review to read!), head on over to Doug’s blog to read what he has to say about the album!
Disclaimer: This album was purchased, and there was no exchange of money or product for this review.
One thought on “>Downhere’s How Many Kings”
>Thanks so much for the review – well written! I'm glad you got to listen to it before Thanksgiving – it was Canadian Thanksgiving today, so you could make the case for listening to your Christmas music now… 🙂