And we're back with our final entry in our overview of new Christmas music in 2019. If you missed them, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Jars of Clay (feat. Shel) A Family Christmas EP
It has been years since we’ve heard any new music from former CCM staples Jars of Clay. The band achieved a reputation for their Christmas output during their tenure before going quietly into an unofficial retirement. Their annual Christmas show, A Family Christmas, inspired an EP of the same name this year. The Catch? It’s done in partnership with the mainstream act, Shel. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but those expecting another continuation of their 2007 Christmas album may come away disappointed, as the vocals from Shel tend to dominate the project, with it feeling almost like it’s Hastletine lending guest vocals to their EP. That said, after such a long absence, any new recording with Hastletine’s legendary vocals is a welcome treat. And Jars fans should still find something to enjoy on this EP.
Planetshakers It’s Christmas
Plantershakers are definitely one of the Church bands with the most modern and accessible sound. They can do reflective, rap, electronic, and pretty much everything in-between. In fact, this album is full of such dynamics. After two years of new Christmas EPs, they’ve compiled them into a full-length Christmas romp that includes a little something for everyone this season.
Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh "It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"
With a name right out of the Christmas story, it’s kind of surprising that these girl hard rockers haven’t become a staple of Christmas music. With a delicious punk rock romp, this cover of the classic is definitely a frenetic change of pace that should give rock heads a rare nugget in the holiday season.
Kevin Max & Michael Tait "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
They’re two-thirds of the legendary dc Talk who have collaborated together a few times since the group went on an indefinite Intermission some 20 years ago. Despite both lending their vocals to Christmas projects over the years, this marks their first one together. This single is set to be a precursor to a full Christmas album set for release in 2020 (reserve a spot on your 2020 Christmas music playlist now).
The song itself plays it very reverent and traditional, utilizing the strengths of both classic artists. While fans looking for something more akin to the dc Talk sound might not quite find that here, those looking for some yuletide cheer with those famed vocals will find this a pleasant little stocking stuffer of a track.
Matthew West "Winter Wonderland"
Matthew West is becoming more and more of a Christmas music staple. He even has an Emmy nomination for one of his original Christmas songs. While we’re only a few years past his last Christmas project, this year West recorded his rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” It’s as fun as you’d expect given the song’s mass appeal and West’s love of holiday fun. Give it a listen to yourself into a wintry mood.
David & Nicole Binion - Dwell Christmas
Filled with worship anthems both reflective and “get up and raise your hands” worthy, the Binions have crafted an arena-ready Christmas project that engages, inspires, and points to the true meaning of the season.
Cloverton Come & Adore
Cloverton's last Christmas EP, We Sing Joy, produced the epic choral title track that is still a surprise holiday favorite of this author. Come & Adore is a worthy followup with another solid title track as well as the standout original “It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas.” Check it out for a strong collection of holiday tunes to complement their last offering.
If you’ve followed these past 4 articles, you may already be overwhelmed with the sea of new Xmas releases. And these don’t even cover them all. There are new singles out there from acts big and small, from MercyMe to Mallary Hope, Ginny Owens to Matt Papa. And a lot of other artists you may not yet be familiar with. Whatever your musical taste, 2019 is sure to offer you something new to add to your Christmas music collection.
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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