Jordan Smith

'Tis the Season

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'Tis the Season is the first holiday offering from Jordan Smith, winner of 2015's ninth season of TV singing competition The Voice (U.S.). It follows the covers specialist's 2016 debut by seven months and adheres to that album's air of outmoded vocal pop, one that has proved to be a welcome respite to a fan base that landed him at number two on the Billboard 200. Here, performance highlights include "Grown-Up Christmas List," whose delicate arrangement of strings and piano makes room for Smith's passionate if not commanding delivery, and a dramatic version of "What Child Is This." There are missteps, too, including attempts to scat and lead a gospel choir on the exuberant "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," and an "I'll Be Home for Christmas" that challenges the low end of his range. Appearances by such esteemed guests as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and soprano Maria Aleida add a welcome touch of solemnity to an otherwise pleasant album that balances wistful and playful selections.

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