Christmas Albums

I have almost completed my 1993 post, but I am going to take a break from it and do one short post about Christmas albums. I LOVE Christmas music, but it's hard to find unique, good Christmas music. Here is a list of a few I enjoy:

Mindy Smith- My Holiday
I just got this with an iTunes gift card today, it is awesome. Many great original songs, a few traditional ones, all in folk style with Mindy's beautiful voice. Best song on the album is one Mindy wrote, "Follow the Shepherd Home." Alison Krauss also contributes BGVs. I have only listened to the album twice, but I love it already.

Sufjan Stevens- Songs for Christmas (available on emusic)
Incredibly thorough and diverse, actually made up of 5 EPs spanning 5 years. A variety of Christmas classics and new songs written by Sufjan is various styles. Buy the box set, you get 5 CDs and tons of extras like chords, lyrics, stickers, a poster and a nice cardboard box. 42 songs in all. If you get this, definitely buy the box, don't just buy the mp3s.

Jars of Clay- Christmas Songs (on emusic)
Newest album on the list, very good. A nice mix of hymns, Christmas classics, and originals all arranged in folk-rock style.

Over the Rhine- Snow Angels
Over the Rhine's newest Christmas album, consisting of all original songs. Outstanding, one of their better albums. Was released last year independently, this year I think it should be available in stores.

Over the Rhine- Darkest Night of the Year (on emusic)
Over the Rhine's more traditional Christmas album, released a decade ago. Album is surprisingly about half instrumental. Not thier strongest work, but definitely worth getting cheaply off emusic.

Low- Christmas (on emusic)
I am not really that much of a fan of Low, but I love this album. Easily my favorite thing they have ever done. A few hymns, but highlighted by two songs they wrote- "If you were born today" (covered recently by Jimmy Eat World, you can buy their version on iTunes) and "Long way around the sea" (covered a few years ago by Pedro the Lion on one of their many Christmas 7" records).

Noel (out of print, but you can download it for free right here)
Probably my favorite Christmas album, because I have been listening to it for so long. Recorded by various artists, but cohesively, not each artist recording a seperate song. This was probably the precursor of the City on a Hill albums (brainchild of Derri Daughery and Steve Hindalong of the Choir). Featuring Michael Pritzl, Riki Michele, Jenny Gullen, Buddy & Julie Miller, etc.

Leigh Nash- Wishing for This (on emusic)
Great EP of originals, covers, and classics.

A Winter's Night (on emusic)
A mostly folk album with lots of nice songs from Nickel Creek, the Weepies, Sixpence, Hem, the Be Good Tanyas, Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavinge, etc. I have gotten most of the tracks off emusic, but not all of them yet.

Even though I am not a fan of the band, I am considering getting the new Relient K Christmas album. Matthew Thiessen (lead singer) has written one of my favorite Christmas songs that was on a Tooth and Nail sampler years ago, called "I Hate Christmas Parties."