Classic Christmas with a uniqueness that is Sara Groves. O Holy Night evokes all that is good, warm and friendly during this special season showcasing perennial Christmas favorites as well as four new original songs.
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Sara Groves Christmas is a Merry one| Posted November 28, 2008
After seven albums of new material Sara Groves first Christmas record, O Holy Night, was a long time in coming. Making the transition from her emotionally charged lyrics to simple Christmas songs may seem a step down for being one of the most esteemed song writers in Christian music but the Groves alters both the classical tunes and lyrics of traditional holiday tunes to offer a fresh batch of songs.
If it bothers people that she changed the holiday hymns that we all love (with the exception of “silent night”) Groves has a perfectly good excuse: with twelve song and not a big musical well to draw from diversity was a necessity to keep the verity in the album and keep it from becoming boring. What is nice about O Holy Night is that in addition to the tweaking the classics she adds five full length new songs which is more than usual.
Sara Groves son is featured on “it’s true (Toby Groves)” which helps raise the emotional intensity (which pushes sweet to over doing it) of an already emotional soft tune that has a Christmassy tune. Her voice is key on the opening track “star of wonder” which after a long intro is a perfect fit for the first song. One of the cleverest and enjoyable songs is “toy packaging” a song which many mothers can relate to; throw in the upbeat tune and the song is a highlights. Unfortunately not all of her new music has the same charm of complexity as “toy packaging” like “a cradle in Bethlehem” which is far too simple.
From the very note “it came upon a midnight clear” is clearly altered and in some parts absolutely drags the song down; however it could be argued that it is the more original music song that just lacks a Christmassy beat. “To be with you” could have been sped up the second time through after the chorus but it was not so it’s only a pretty good ballad instead of a great one but the jazzy “have yourself a merry little Christmas” is a very Christmas friendly track that is quite pleasing to the ears.
Some moments on O Holy Night made this writer was to hit the skip button on Sara Groves altered classical songs (“angels we have heard on high” and “Gloria”), but that and a few simple songs aside the album as a whole that will manage to be entertaining and remind listeners what the meaning behind Christmas is.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY| Posted October 07, 2008
Effortlessly moving between the meaningful and the whimsical comes the first Yuletide release from Sara Groves, one of the most brilliant artists caroling on the contemporary Christian porch. And it’s about time.
In the accompanying press materials for O Holy Night, Groves mentions that she’s always wanted to make a Christmas album, and it’s clear that much thought and consideration was placed into such a release. The sequencing is perfect from beginning to end, drawing the listener right into the beauty and depth of the Christmas narrative and keeping the audience attuned throughout the duration.
Came Upon A Midnight Clear” receives a slight U2-esque electric treatment, especially around the bridge. The result is the most striking track on O Holy Night, and Groves’ vocals work particularly well here.
Groves’ higher register comes into play on the title track, “O Holy Night.” The song soars with her voice before softly coming back to earth along with the acoustic guitar. The arrangement of this particular tune is very pretty and provides the most sufficiently somber moment on the album.
The most buoyant and fun moment comes courtesy of original track “Toy Packaging.” On it, Groves laments the wrestling match known as “some assembly required” when she sings, “Nothing makes me lose my cool like toy packaging/Ask the kids to leave the room, it’s time for toy packaging.” It’s a nice reprieve from the rest of the album.
As the collection closes with a beautiful rendition of “Silent Night” and the Groves family singing “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” you realize that you’ve experienced everything the holidays have to offer all on one complete disc. It’s a strong Christmastime effort that deserves your attention. –Matt Conner
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
Beautiful Music| Posted October 02, 2012
Beautiful, intricate music, stunningly beautiful vocals. I have to admit, the bittersweet combination of the 2 reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from my favorite TV show, "sad is like happy for deep people." This CD is not just beautiful, it feels so deep you just want to close your eyes and enjoy the beauty. A bit of a change from many cheerful yet somewhat shallow Christmas CDs- I really enjoy those too for a pick me up, this is just something different and special.
The slight exception in the CD is the very cheerful, funny, and relatable (not that the others aren't, this one is just more casual) Toy Packaging. Makes me smile and occasionally giggle with sympathy.
Overall, just wonderful, beautiful, and rather unique (in my experience) Christmas CD.
O Holy Night| Posted October 26, 2011
A great Christmas release from Sara that is worshipful and succeeds in bringing listeners to point of reflection and introspection into the majesty and gift of Christ coming to earth to die for sinful mankind. This is a wonderful release in a genre of holiday music that at times can miss the need to be still and quiet, containing a good mixture of original songs and classic holiday songs that will be familiar to most.
I liked it| Posted December 08, 2008
Well, its a little different from what I'm accustomed! It was little difficult to hear the traditional songs being intepreted so differently. But - I got hooked on Gloria, In Excelsis Deo! I love it! There are others too: the original about the 'joys' of gift wrapping (Toy Packaging) :) and so on. It was good/different.
O Holy Night by Sara Groves| Posted December 03, 2008
You really need to listen to this album at least twice to appreciate it. Sara sings like an angel. There is a lot of new versions of old classics and some original material.