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High Street Hymns - "Christmas & Advent Songs"

Christmas & Advent Songs is a sampler of, well, Christmas and Advent songs by High Street Hymns.  While listening to it, I thought it was an EP, but a closer look at the download page indicated that it is in fact a selection of songs from a longer album.  It's one heck of a sampler, though, so it's well worth a post and a listen (or three or four).

The genre on the download page is listed as folk/acoustic, but there's a lot more going on here than that would imply.  "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is performed beautifully, starting with nothing but acoustic guitar and vocals and gradually building to a powerful crescendo with drums and electric guitar before coming right back to where it started.  "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is a real surprise - the rapid guitar strumming and snapping percussion give it a somewhat aggressive edge; I'm actually reminded of Johnny Cash's version of "God's Gonna Cut You Down" when listening to it.  "In the Bleak Midwinter" is always one of my favourite Christmas songs, and this version, while more straightforward, is still very nicely done.  I was initially disappointed with "Love Came Down at Christmas", mainly because I was expecting something along the lines of Shawn Colvin's version, but subsequent listens have revealed the charms of this version as well.  I think that's one of the things I love most about Christmas music - everyone is free to put their own stamp on these songs, and if you're willing to do a bit of digging, there are some truly great gems to be found.

Okay, by my clock I have about 14 minutes left to post this if I want to get it up today, so I'd better go and do that now.  I hope you've been enjoying this year's crop of free Christmas music so far, and I'll be back soon with some more.  Happy listening!


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