Normally I cringe upon seeing more than one Christmas "original" on a release. Given the short sixty day run that is what commonly referred to as the Holiday season, new Christmas music seems to be a desperate attempt by some artist to receive the extra attention they may not receive with their regular catalog. In short, the tunes are born out of desperation not out of necessity but this is the second or perhaps third release where that does not seem to be the case. Kiss Me Beneath The Mistletoe is a well paced, delightfully conceived release with original to the more familiar Christmas classics being close to 50/50 which contributes nicely to a delightful ebb and flow of this release.
Some of the highlights here include the standout original "In The Stillness Of The Night" along with the stirring spiritual "Rise Up Shepherd." Singer warms the heart with "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" and then lets the spirit fly with a foot to the floor version of "Winter Wonderland."
A nice mix of originals and holiday favorites couples with a more soulful presentation than most artists have the chops to deliver allows "Kiss Me Beneath The Mistletoe" to take flight as a solid Christmas release for most anyone in the market for new music this season. A sure fire winner!
Tracks: Kiss Me Beneath The Mistletoe; On New Year's Eve; In The Stillness Of The Night; Christmas Is Near; It Must Have Been The Mistletoe; Rise Up Shepherd; Let It Snow; Christmas In My Heart; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; What Are You Doing New Year's Eve; Born This First Christmas Night; Winter Wonderland.
Personnel: Donna Singer: vocals. The Doug Richards Trio: Doug Richards: bass; Bill Alfred: piano; Mike Cervone: drums.
Guest Artists: Jeff Otis: guitar; Luis Camacho; trumpet/vocal; Debra Courtright: soprano vocal; Crystal Tweed: alto vocal; Randy Hennig: tenor vocal.