Filmed in the barn on David’s property earlier this spring, O Holy Night combines the rusticity of the surroundings with the elegance of this event. The live CD/DVD is produced by Dove nominated David Phelps and Jim Chaffee, along with Jimmy Abegg. The festive evening showcases the beautiful Christmas show that has become a yearly tradition for Phelps’ fans across the country, featuring David’s phenomenal band, live strings and choir. Filmed before more than 400 fans who flew from all over the country to attend this special holiday taping, these classic holiday songs - sung by Phelps’ amazing voice – add up to an evening you won’t want to miss!
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DIZZYING STYLES OVERSHADOW, BUT PHELPS’ MAGNIFICANT VOCALS SHINE| Posted October 07, 2008
David Phelps is a busy man. Between releasing 2005’s full-length project Life is a Church, 2006’s Legacy of Love Live project, 2007’s One Wintry Night and No More Night: Live in Birmingham CD/DVD combo, Phelps is pairing up the fall release of his new studio record, The Voice, with a live Christmas extravaganza taped earlier this year.
O Holy Night: A Live Holiday Celebration begins with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” filled with voices swirling around Phelps’ unmistakable tenor in a chilling a capella ode to the advent of Christ’s birth. Introducing the band, “The Singer (Let there be Light)” slowly builds in an epic journey from Creation to the cross.
“Hallelujah” is a Gospel/rock fused rendition of Handel’s famous chorus, a throwback to the Young Messiah tour of the early ’90s. And a very Take 6-ish “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” skips and scats into “White Christmas,” a beautifully orchestrated segue to the haunting, Tim Burton-esque original “If Christmas Never Came.”
Of the finer, quieter moments “Lully, Lullay/What Child is This?” offers up another effective vocals-only arrangement, providing a lush bedding for Phelps’ exquisite phrasing and a perfect introduction to the hair-raising “Away in a Manger/Sleep Little Baby” composite.
The only criticism for an otherwise exceptional holiday collection is O Holy Night’s dizzying orbit of styles. In an effort to conquer every popular genre, Phelps’ voice loses out. And a gorgeous instrument like his deserves the subtler context only half of this material affords.
Even still, after listening to a near perfect execution of Mark Lowry’s magnificent “Mary Did You Know?” it's no wonder Phelps is such a widely recognized and appreciated talent. O Holy Night is certainly a legitimate addition to the holiday music scene. –Andrew Greer
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!