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Daniel O'Donnell (Irish): O' Holy Night: The Christmas Album

Album Notes

His records might not receive any airplay or feature on any prime-time TV shows, but Irish easy listening crooner Daniel O'Donnell is one of the most consistent and prolific chart artists of the last two decades, having scored a Top 40 album every year since 1988, a feat that no other artist has achieved. It has been 16 years since the release of Christmas with Daniel, and now he muscles in on Cliff Richard's territory yet again with his second festive album, O' Holy Night: The Christmas Album. Unlike his previous yuletide collection, which featured 20th century standards as well as traditional pieces, O'Donnell's follow-up to Peace in the Valley focuses solely on faithful renditions of seasonal hymns and carols. Alongside ubiquitous favorites "Silent Night," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," there are also lesser-known religious songs "Christmas Day 1915" and "Angels We Have Heard on High," and a brand-new composition penned by Fergal Flaherty, "Remember Me," which surprisingly sits quite comfortably next to the more recognizable fare. Harking back to the soothing '50s/'60s Christmas collections from the likes of Jim Reeves and Perry Como, O' Holy Night is unashamedly old-fashioned, even more so when compared to similar recent releases from Aled Jones and Bryn Terfel. But backed by producer Orla Flanagan's simple orchestral and acoustic arrangements and the Milltown Chamber Choir, O'Donnell's outdated but charming vocal style does provide a heart-warming and comforting accompaniment to the festive season. And while its gentle and wholesome nature will undoubtedly be too schmaltzy for his many detractors, his loyal legion of female fans are unlikely to be disappointed. ~ Jon O'Brien


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