Classic pipes, classic tunes
Reviewed December 2006
A Classic Christmas
Curb Records: 2006
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Longtime fans of country superstar Wynonna Judd might not know what to make of her first solo Christmas album: There's nary a pedal steel guitar to be found. Instead, she's surrounded and backed by loads of strings and even oboe and English horn! "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" is given a lovely pop-jazz arrangement here, while "Ave Maria" is near-on classical in approach. On whole, it is far closer in style and
tone to, say, Johnny Mathis or Al Jarreau than any of her earlier material.
But it is a Christmas record, and Wynonna may have the most gorgeous pipes of any country singer since Patsy Cline. Besides, her albums have never been pure country, but have always taken in huge swaths of pop, rock and blues.
And so hearing her wrap that voice of hers around 11 holiday standards ("Winter Wonderland," "Silent Night," etc.) is pretty pleasurable for anyone with a bent for the standard Christmas fare.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).