Various Artists

Simple Gifts: A Windham Hill Collection

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Simple Gifts is a gift that touches the heart with sweeping melody during an occasion such as the festive holiday season. Consoling and soothing, this record presents to the listener a place to meditate in the soul and enjoy a fresh relaxing atmosphere. Either by the steps of a snow-laden porch or buy the glow of a fire's warmth, these tunes are good therapy for any time of a hectic, money- and shopping-driven Christmas season. Suzanne Ciani brings forth a chiming version of "Adeste Fedelis." Sean Harkness rings true with a blazing cut of the original "Snow Shadows" via the classical and acoustic six-string guitar. Jim Brickman blesses the listener with an enriching and soothing version of "Joy to the World" on the ebony and ivory keys. "Winter Fire," a wonderful tune arranged by Janis Ian, is a perfect song destined for the perfect winter backdrop near a ski resort or by a cold windy ocean landscape. A momentous highlight of this collection is George Winston's version of "Greensleeves," expressed on the piano, under the inspiration of "Peanuts" and the arrangement by the famed Vince Guaraldi Trio. Other lush and charming tunes include the pennywhistle and oboe of Paul McCandless on the track titled "In Bethlehem City." Samite presents some intriguing sounds in the tune "Angel Child." Nightnoise brings out all the flavors of a winter evening and the spooky and romantic feelings that go with them. The last tune, "Welcome Christmas" (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a splendid listen to behold. Overall, this collection is a winner and a great gift idea for the December-January holiday season.

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