Christmas is on the horizon. Michael Bublé is defrosting as we speak. But this year his annual festivities have some competition – Carrie Underwood and her first Christmas album, My Gift.
A combination of traditional holiday favourites and original tunes, My Gift finds the seven-time Grammy winner backed by an orchestra led by David Campbell, who has recorded with artists from Celine Dion to Beyoncé. In a preview video for the album, the singer said that it was “on my heart to do this Christmas album. I just felt like this was such a fitting time. It’s more important than ever to focus on the true meaning of Christmas in a project like this”. And that is exactly what she did in her emotional new holiday song Let There Be Peace. Underwood and gospel quartet The McCrary Sisters croon the lyrics “Let there be peace/peace to every nation / let there be hope / for all the world to see” – a timely call for hope and joy.
As well as original songs, some of the beloved traditional favourites, with Underwood celebrating her faith and the spiritual nature of the holiday, include O Come All Ye Faithful, Away In A Manger and Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee to name a few.
A notable standout track on the album, Hallelujah, is a breathtaking duet performed and penned by John Legend. Both singers deliver haunting vocals over the lyrics: “On the coldest evening of December / I’ll hold you in the heat of the glowing embers”. No matter where you listen or who you listen with, the track creates a true feeling of togetherness. A surefire Christmas classic to be.
Another special collaboration shows the singer’s five-year-old son Isaiah Fisher making his musical debut on the rendition of Little Drummer Boy, with a warm instrumental backing creating the perfect atmosphere for the sweet Mother / Son collaboration.
From the track O Holy Night, the power of the singer’s exceptional voice is on full display once again, with her vocals soaring over the immense sounds of the orchestra. After a number of grand ballads, Underwood takes listeners to the comfort of a peaceful Christmas night with Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. It’s a song to relax to, sitting by dancing flames in the hearth of the fireplace with a hot chocolate in hand – a real sense of serenity that continues into the closing track, Silent Night.
In a decidedly non-traditional year, Carrie Underwood has kept one musical tradition going with this album. My Gift offers us moments of joy and unity, a little dose of Christmas cheer that everyone needs to hear.