Various Artists

City on a Hill: It's Christmas Time

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The third release in the acoustic-based CCM all-star series is an easy-spirited introduction to the concept for those preferring the sweet familiarity of traditional holiday classics. But it's not just a nice compilation of songs you've heard over and over. Amidst the organic readings of "Silent Night" (vocal by Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer) and "Away in a Manger" (done solemnly by Julie Miller and Derri Daugherty) are new songs by Terry Scott Taylor (the loping folk tune "Holy Emmanuel"), Caedmon's Call (a very Celtic-flavored "Babe in the Straw"), and Jars of Clay (very elegant and restrained on "Bethlehem Town"). Other highlights are "In the Bleak Midwinter" by the Paul Colman Trio and the gorgeous harmony vocals by Sixpence None the Richer's Nash and Michael Tait on the closer, "Oh Holy Night." The point of this series is not just to gather and further expose top CCM artists to a wider audience, but to show that less is sometimes more in the often over the top realm of Christmas music.

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