It’s November 18th. According to retail stores, TV commercials, and the guy in my neighborhood who has had the string of lights on his gutters for the past two weeks, I am officially due for a holiday album review. My recommendation this year is O Holy Night by Sara Groves. You can’t make a decision about this album by its cover or its track list. If you are looking for a compilation of traditional Christmas carols, this album is not for you. However, if you’re looking for a beautifully arranged album with lyrics based on Christmas that is musically relevant for anytime of the year, pick this album up.
Anyone familiar with Sara Groves can attest to the fact that she could sell a ten track album of her singing the Happy Birthday song in ten different languages based on her voice alone. Like her previous recordings, O Holy Night offers her pure honest tones as well as the organic instrumentation that accompanies. The album has every dynamic a Christmas record should have. It is peacefully solemn at times and joyful when it needs to be.
While listening to O Holy Night for the first time, the first milestone came on the second track titled It’s True, an original offering from Groves. It features her toddler, Toby, reading the Christmas story in a very candid language throughout the song. It is reminiscent of the classic Charlie Brown Christmas moment. Toby speaks of the star, that guided the shepherds, as a spotlight that God placed in the sky to highlight his own son. He reminds us that God was like a new dad. He had been waiting for years for this very moment and used the blazing star in the sky to mark the momentous occasion.
O Holy Night speaks of everything important that should monopolize our thoughts during the Christmas season; the birth of Christ, the significance of time with our family, and the importance of giving. If you’d like a break from the stressful obligation of what our American “holiday” has become, pick up Sara Groves’ latest album, O Holy Night.