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A Very Rosie Christmas!
Artist: Rosie Thomas (
Label: Sing-a-long Records

Rosie Thomas adds her trademark wispy vocals on top of a reflective "Christmas Time is Here" to start the disc.  The bouncy original "Why Can't It Be Christmastime All Year?" (co written with Jeff Shoop) follows, demonstrating that this will be a disc of diverse sounds.  Rosie delivers a cover of the Joni Mitchell tune "River," a common occurrence among female artists doing a holiday project.  Thomas' version is just slightly different than the original, differing ever-so-slightly from all of the other note-for-note renditions out there.

Gentle Piano drives the traditional version of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," while "Silent Night" is not traditional at all in terms of Melody line. Rosie's quiet, reflective vocals help sell this new version, with plenty of worshipful poignancy.  The new arrangement helps to focus the listener on the lyrics anew, making this a standout track, as well as a standout version of the song.  A similar rebranding of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" follows.  It is less memorable than the preceding song, but still impresses.

"Snow Day" is an original instrumental that sounds like a Christmas tune, as opposed to any old instrumental, but never aspires to much.  "Alone at Christmastime" reminds us of the many people suffering from seasonal depression, while not weighing down the disc too much.  It features more of wispy vocal delivery I love.  "The Chipmunk Song" is referred to as "Christmas Don't Be Late" and made into a wistful song of expectation, differing from the original in spirit & sentimentality.  With the addition of some coda lyrics, the song seems to be a cry from the world for the message of peace that Christmas brings, even the Christ child.  This is much different than the personal consumerist bent of the original lyrics.  A great upgrade to a fun childhood song.

Rosie delivers a jubilant "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" next, including a nice muted trumpet solo and accents throughout.  "Sheila's Christmas Miracle!" interrupts the music, with an original, almost nine minute story (there is some background music & sound effects).  Think of an old-school radio special that you enjoy once, but don't necessarily need to hear again, in terms of delivery.  Not so much in content - think of your weird, over sharing co-worker cornering you & talking your ear off.  Then it ends with a talked-over song a la the Beach Boys to close the disc, with a goofy bit of a hidden track following.

While not quite as diverse as I had hoped from the second track, the disc still offers a nice collection of sounds & songs.  Lovers of indie pop will be hard-pressed to come up with a better Christmas disc for this year, though it falls shy of the masterpieces of the Christmas genre.  Take off the last 2 tracks and enjoy a nearly flawless disc.

Jonathan Nelson


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