Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Amy is pulling out all of the stops with a 2008 collection of the best Christmas songs from all three catalog albums plus four new songs. Christmas music is synonymous with Amy Grant. Her classic arrangements, stirring original Christmas songs, TV specials, and widely attended Christmas tours over the years have all contributed to over five million Christmas albums sold. In 2007, all three of Amy's classic Christmas albums were digitally re-mastered and sold over 50,000 albums in just three months.
The Christmas Collection is a Christmas compilation album released by American pop and Christian singer Amy Grant in 2008. It is her second Christmas compilation album, after 2005's My Best Christmas.
The compilation includes fourteen previously released Christmas songs from Grant's three Christmas studio albums, A Christmas Album,Home for Christmas, and A Christmas to Remember, as well as four new songs.
Of the four new tracks, two are cover songs and two are original compositions. The two covers are "Jingle Bells" and "Count Your Blessings". The latter is taken from the 1954 jukebox musical film White Christmas, and even though Grant has stated she has not watched it yet, she recorded the song for its message. The version of "Jingle Bells" is a cover of the fast-paced arrangement written by Marty Paich and originally recorded by Barbra Streisand. The two new original compositions are "I Need a Silent Night", co-written with constant collaborator Chris Eaton ("Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)"); and "Baby, It's Christmas", co-written with husband and fellow singer Vince Gill.
"Over the years Amy Grant has recorded three timeless Christmas albums (in 1984, 1992 and 1999) so it makes a whole lot of sense to gather the best of each of those three albums along with four new tracks to create this album, "The Christmas Collection." The album kicks off with the timeless "Jingle Bells," one of those four new songs. Amy's rendition is contemporary and fun and fast paced. The arrangement by Amy and co-producer Brown Bannister is simply inventive and breathes new life into the track. "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" was a huge hit for Christian music's biggest star and has since become the most often played rendition of the song during the holiday season.
Written with Chris Eaton, "I Need A Silent Night" is an interesting take on how the excessiveness of Christmas has made us long for silent evenings at home with our families while shopping for the latest and greatest gifts. Amy and Vince Gill's daughter Corrina recited Luke's account of the birth of Jesus at the end of the recording, thus forever freezing her seven-year-old voice in time. Amy and Vince co-wrote the jazzy "Baby, It's Christmas" and you can hear Vince's classic guitar playing backing her up as she singes the hopeful lyrics in a voice that somewhat recalls Karen Carpenter. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" is another great track as is another track Amy co-wrote with Chris Eaton, "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)." Fans of Vince Gill may recall that he recorded the same song for his "Breath of Heaven" Christmas album a few years back.
David Foster's "Grown-Up Christmas List" is playful and mature and Amy's reading (from 1992) is steeped in romantic overtones while "Tennessee Christmas" (written by Amy with her former husband Gary Chapman) showcases the young Amy Grant pleading for snow to fall for her "Tender Tennessee Christmas." The album closes out with classic Christmas tracks "O Come All Ye Faitfhul," "A Mighty Fortress/Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
With fifteen tracks, Amy Grant's "A Christmas Collection" is the kind of holiday album you can put in the CD player and repeat. You can enjoy the timelessness of the collection while drinking hot coco or eggnog and enjoying Christmas with your family."-RoughStock
"It's been three years since we've heard from Amy Grant (Rock of Ages... Hymns of Faith). And now that the temperature is dropping and the leaves are turning she's set to release "The Christmas Collection" on September 30. But wait a minute - doesn't Amy already have three Christmas albums under her belt? Well, yes. But there are four new recordings on this project, one of which features a special guest appearance from daughter Corrina ("I Need A Silent Night"). Amy says, "The highlight for me on this song was having her record the Luke account of The Christmas Story. I'm glad we have my daughter's voice on this track."
There's a caffeinated version of "Jingle Bells" with some snazzy triplets thrown into the rhythm for flair. It and a few others almost have the feel of a score from a musical. Several pieces are backed by an orchestra, and Amy's voice blends well with the instrumentation.
Another one of the new tracks is "Count Your Blessings", a romantic jazz number. Grant sings this one almost as if it's a lullaby. "Baby, It's Christmas" was co-written with her husband, Vince Gill, something we haven't seen a lot. You'll be familiar with all the rest of the cuts, from her earlier holiday albums.
Grant isn't reinventing the wheel here. The Christmas Collection features many of the traditional holiday favorites we've all grown to know and love over the years including "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "Silent Night", and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". And let's not forget the perennial favorite "Breath of Heaven".
It would have been nice to have included more new songs - either original pieces or new renditions of old ones. But the minute you load "The Christmas Collection" onto your iPod you'll want to light up a fire and watch the snow fall outside, even if you live in Hawaii. And that's what any Christmas album should do.
Amy will be hitching up her sleigh in early December, hitting 15 cities with husband Vince, who will also be featured. Long time Grant fans as well as new ones won't be disappointed with Grant's latest offering. It's the Amy we know and love. So grab your jingle bells - you're in for a great holiday treat." -titletrakk
Personnel: Corrina Grant Gill (vocals); Ilya Toshinsky, Vince Gill, Tom Bukovac (guitar, guitars); John Hobbs, Michael Omartian (piano); Pete Wasner, Blair Masters (keyboards); Craig Nelson (bass instrument, drums); Michael Rhodes (bass instrument); Paul Leim, Chad Cromwell (drums); Aimee Joy Weimer, Tim Davis , Lisa Cochran, Mark Ivey (background vocals); The London Session Orchestra.
Audio Mixer: Steve Bishir.
Recording information: The Sound Kitchen, Nashville, TN; Townsend Sound, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Kristin Barlowe.
Arrangers: Tim Davis ; Marty Paich; Shane Keister; Carl Marsh.
THE CHRISTMAS COMPILATION is a best-of anthology that combines material from Christian pop singer Amy Grant's three previous Christmas albums, along with four newly recorded songs. The track selection features Grant's secular pop material over traditional hymns, focusing on holiday standards like "Sleigh Ride," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," alongside newer songs such as "Count Your Blessings," "Grown-Up Christmas List," and "I Need A Silent Night."