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Album Spotlight: Jennifer Avalon - Sounds of Bethlehem

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!



Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff! I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post links to free(!) Christmas music. I know it takes time and is usually a thankless job. But people such as myself do appreciate it!

I've listened to only some of these songs, but I was surprised to see her on last.fm, where you can also download her music. She has an amazing voice... soothing and at the same time uplifting. To me, Christmas music is special, and I tend to go towards the traditional 'O Holy Night' rather than 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree'. Does that make sense? haha

Well anyhoo, I hope you and your family enjoy this Christmas season, and have a wonderful New Year.

JT said...

Thank you for the kind words, Lorra. The reason I blog about music (especially Christmas music) is that I love it so much, but it always feels nice to know that there are people who appreciate it.

I try to cover as many genres and styles of Christmas music as I possibly can. It always astounds me how many different ways the same songs can be interpreted. If you like traditional Christmas carols, I hope you check out Fisher's December album, which I just posted about.

Merry Christmas to you as well, and thanks once again for the kind words!