New Christmas Music for 2019 (Part 3)
The third in our Christmas series! NRT's J.J. Francesco continues the review of new Christmas music releasing this year, including new singles, EPs, and full-length albums.

NRT LISTS, New Christmas Music for 2019 (Part 3)
Posted: December 12, 2019 | By: JJFrancesco_NRT
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Here are some additional new releases in Christian Christmas music for 2019! Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for more new Christmas music that came out this season. 

We Are Messengers "This is Jesus"

We Are Messengers released God With Us EP  few years ago and it’s quickly become a personal favorite. The EP is being re-released this year with a new track, “This is Jesus.” Sung to the Nettleton melody most associated with “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing,” the tune is a passionate worshipful number that is perfect for the season. Darren Mulligan’s signature vocals sound better than ever and make this a must-have for this year’s Christmas playlist. 

Plumb - Behold & It’s Christmastime EPs

Plumb pulled a unique approach this year and released 2 EPs of Christmas tunes. The first ep, Behold, is named after the single of the same name. A worshipful original, this song is one of the best of all the cuts and sure to be a holiday staple for years to come. But the It’s Christmastime EP is no slouch either, boasting a fun cover of “Christmas Vacation,” the title cut from the popular film that has surprisingly received precious little attention as far as covers go.

Building 429 - A Thrill of Hope EP

Building 429 have quietly built up almost a full length’s worth of Christmas recordings without ever having before release a Christmas EP or LP. 2019 sees them righting this wrong with A Thrill of Hope EP, containing 3 new tracks and last year’s original “Glory.” The title track, a medley of “O Holy Night” and “Agnus Dei” effectively sets a worshipful tone while a stellar cover of “Birthday of a King” is another highlight.


Marc Martel, Amy Grant, & Michael W. Smith - "Silver Bells"

Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant have collaborated together so many times, it’s hardly news when they decide to do it again. But add in everyone’s favorite Mercury Mimic, Marc Martel, and you have quite a unique all-star Christmas single. “Silver Bells” is done in a traditional and reverent way, with all 3 vocalists given ample time to leave their mark on the track. The song was recorded in the promotion of the trio’s upcoming Christmas tour. With all 3 artists responsible for some modern Christmas classics, the track serves as a throwback to some of the great Christmas collaborations of years past. While I would have personally liked the three to tackle an original, it’s hard to deny the Christmas spirit is alive in this festive single. This song is also available as part of Marc Martel's new compilation of some of his best Christmas music so far.

Jonathan Cain (feat. Michael Tait) - "Wonder of Wonders"

Jonathan Cain wrote some of Journey’s signature hits, and these past few years, he’s become an increasing presence in CCM. He releaseUnsung Noel a few years ago, crafting one of the best Christmas releases of recent years, despite it flying under the radar of most in the industry. Cain is back with a new Christmas single this year, employing the legendary Michael Tait to perform with him. The song, “Wonder of Wonders” is a rousing treat. Sonically, it would’ve fit well on Cain’s album. Tait’s vocals add a new layer of must-hear to the song and perhaps could give it the push it needs to reach new listeners in the Christian market.


Future of Forestry Light Has Come: Christmas

Future of Forestry previously released 3 Advent Christmas EPs to critical acclaim. They didn’t achieve the commercial success of much of modern Christmas music, but their renditions achieved cult favored status for their artistic value. Now the band is back with a 7-song EP that is sure to follow in the same path.

Title track “Light Has Come” is a melodic delight, calling to mind something for King & Country may have cooked up. Other originals like “This Night” and “We Are Home” offer similar melodic goodness that proves that Christmas music can still be compelling. Forgoing covers of songs most artists do, the band opts for some lesser-known fare like “Wexford Carol” and “I Wonder As I Wander” which fit well within the reflective sonic presentation. With not a bad cut in the bunch, this EP may be one of the best sleeper hits of the Christmas music season. It’s definitely one of this reviewer’s favorites. 


Symphony North The Bell Ringer

Fans of Trans Siberian Orchestra likely resigned themselves to the fact that they’d probably never hear any new seasonal output from the Christmas powerhouses again. The band’s Christmas trilogy is 15 years concluded and only an EP several years back has ever delved back into the seasonal waters as the megagroup focuses on annual tours and non-seasonal output.

Ah, but along comes Symphony North. Lead by musician and writer Peter Orullian, this new group takes heavy, heavy inspiration from Trans Siberian Orchestra and even features several former members of the group. The Bell Ringer, the national debut from the group, dropped quietly this year, but is quietly picking up steam. Employing the same story-based rock opera stylings that made TSO a household name, this album almost serves as a new release from the former. Indeed, you can play almost any cut from this release and fool a casual listener. Instrumentals like “Jolly Old Wenceslas” or “Street Kid (Coventry Carol)” ooze so much TSO, it’s almost eerie. While not explicitly a Christian market release, the themes of faith and charity present in the story-based lyrics (not to mention incorporating Casting Crowns' iconic reworking of “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”) should make this release arguably more relevant to Christian listeners than much of the in-market output. If you want the closest thing you’ll get anytime soon to a new Christmas release from the Trans Siberian Orchestra, check out Symphony North’s The Bell Ringer


One Part left. If you missed them, check out Parts 1 and 2!

Check out our NRT Radio Christmas playlist for a complete collection of what's new along with old favorites. 

J.J. Francesco is a longtime contributor to the NRT Staff. He's published the novel 'Because of Austin' and regularly seeks new ways to engage faith, life, and community.

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