Today I would like to feature some Christmas music that is more traditional than what I've featured so far this year. Jennifer Avalon's Sounds of Bethlehem is a beautiful collection of mostly traditional Christmas carols. Consisting of nothing but vocals, acoustic guitars, and percussion (and sometimes only one or two of those elements), the songs are presented in a very pure form that I have found irresistible lately.
The album opens with "Angels We Have Heard On High", which features some gorgeous layered vocals, all courtesy of Ms. Avalon. Two other songs on the album, "Away in a Manger" and "O Come O Come Immanuel" are also performed a capella. There are two original songs, "Snows of December" and "A Christmas Rose", which are both performed on acoustic guitar and have a very beautiful, relaxing feel to them; they are definitely among the album's highlights. The other half of the album's songs feature both vocals and acoustic guitars, with an excellent rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" being another highlight. The entire album flows beautifully from one song to the next, with the a capella and instrumental songs mixed nicely in amongst the rest.
If you're looking for some good traditional Christmas carols, Sounds of Bethlehem would make a worthy addition to your collection. It can be downloaded directly from Jennifer Avalon's website, and also from Jamendo, a great site that has been featured a few times on my other blog. Happy listening, and I'll be back soon with some more great Christmas music!