Winchester Christmas Ensemble

Winchester Christmas Ensemble, Vol. 1

  • AllMusic Rating
    5
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Christmas in Yosemite does drop the occasional birdcall or babbling stream effect into its collection of holiday classics. But this slightest nod to the nature and relaxation album market is the only thing connecting the album to the outdoor grandeur of its titular park. Contemporary instrumental versions of classics like "Little Drummer Boy," "First Noel," and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" are stilted and halting, never seeming to go anywhere beyond the subdued plinks of lead pianist Tim Heinz. Heinz and his mysterious "Northern Lights Ensemble" backing band do a better job with "Silent Night," and "Joy to the World" has a bit of that shimmery, studied Mannheim Steamroller sound. The tasteful acoustic guitar of Grant Geissman provides Christmas in Yosemite with its most memorable moments, warming up "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear," and guiding "Greensleeves" in a studied, reverent manner. The tracks can't really save the album, but they do break up the unfortunate monotony of its reliance on the blandest sounds the New Age genre has to offer.

blue highlight denotes track pick