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Album Spotlight: M Iafrate - happy xmas, x is here

Yesterday I promised you another folk-based Christmas album, and here it is: M Iafrate's happy xmas, x is here. There are 10 songs on this album, and they run the gamut from traditional Christmas carols, to the more modern "White Christmas" and "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", to an original composition called "The Prince of Peace".

The hymn "Each Winter as the Year Grows Older" starts the album off in a stark and somber mood, but by the time the harmonica kicks in on the second song, "O Holy Night", one gets the feeling that this is anything but a standard Christmas album; the use of a kazoo in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is an indication that this is a totally unique Christmas album. The Iafrate-penned "The Prince of Peace" is one of the album's highpoints; with instrumentation of "vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, slide guitar, kazoos, tambourine, [and] hand claps", all performed by Iafrate himself (as is the majority of the entire album), and lyrics like "pave the way for the prince of peace. he hangs around with fishermen but doesn’t eat meat. he tellin’ us all to turn the other cheek. pave the way for the prince of peace," it is a fun and definitely unique look at the life of Jesus Christ. Another highlight is "Away in a Manger", which features Iafrate's brother Andrew on mandolin and vocals; and those vocals are harmonized beautifully with Iafrate's to create a very stirring version of this traditional Christmas carol.

Overall, happy xmas, x is here is a very fun album to listen to. The unique instrumentation, beautiful arrangements, and inspired performances make it a worthy addition to any music lover's collection.

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