Bethlehem Skyline 2
Various Centricity Music artists
Label: Centricity Music
Length: 14 tracks/53:47 minutes
_Bethlehem Skyline 2_ is worth having for the new Christmas songs created by a variety of Centricity Music artists. This is a follow-up to the original Bethlehem Skyline (2006).
With the exception of High Valley and Andrew Peterson, who each contribute one track to this CD, the other artists have two songs: a traditional Christmas song and an original composition.
The best cover is “Away in a Manger” by High Valley. The country trio fill it with warm acoustic sounds that include a Dobro. How can you not like a song with Dobro?
My favorite original is Andrew Peterson’s folksy “Long, Long Ago.” Of course, I might be a bit biased since Peterson is one of my favorites.
“Starving Artist Christmas” by Lanae’ Hale may be the best written humorous Christmas song that I have ever heard. The Downhere songs are two of the best from How Many Kings: Songs for Christmas (2009). All of the other songs appear to be unique to this release.
Me in Motion’s opening “Give It Away” is terrific. It exudes the same vitality and creativity heard on their self-titled release. Expect to hear more from this band.
Jason Gray’s “Love Has a Name” is another winner for him. He is a recent discovery for me and continues to be a favorite. I think highly of the entire Centricity roster. It’s hard to lose on one of their releases.
The covers are good but don’t move me like the new songs. The latter are so well-done, I would have enjoyed an album of all originals, but I recognize what a challenge it is for the artist. They all deserve credit for creating such great new songs.
September 20, 2010