Never judge a book...or a Christmas CD by it's cover!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I have a few simple rules as a critic. Never give a Christmas release a bad review as it can be a sure ticket to hell. In the case of The Alex Tjoland Band a bad review is not even remotely in the cards. This 2012 reissue is an absolute gem! Another rule I have would be if you recognize less than five tracks on a Christmas release then perhaps you need to keep looking, sometimes being wrong works. Sounds like? An incredibly eclectic mix of country, alternative rock, folk, with a smoldering bluesy vibe and you may just be scratching the surface. REM meets Sarah Evans?
"Silent Night" is kicked up just a notch moving past the more reverent approach and embracing that silent revelry that perhaps the release is attempting to capture. "God In Us, Emmanuel" is an alternative country riff once again embracing the spirit of Christmas while maintaining a joyous celebratory spirit that is sadly only captured this time of year. "Magazine" takes on a more deconstructed folk music approach, sort of Dave Matthews meet The Fray. This is why I find artist comparisons somewhat annoying as this delightful ensemble seems to move effortlessly between genres while remaining accessible and wildly entertaining.
Rachel Elkins is an impressive vocalist that has the innate gift of connectivity with a song, simply put she can sing the phone book. All the musical co-conspirators here turn in first rate performances and leave me wondering what else they may have up their sleeve. If you have some decidedly country roots or if you are just looking for something different that is real, raw and rocking then Silent Revelry is indeed the perfect gift to give yourself!
You can sample the release at www.amazon.com
Tracks: Silent Night; Blind Man (Remix); Silent Revelry; God In Us, Emmanuel; An Angel Said To Mary; Precious Things; This Picture Of You; Mercy; Magazine; Blind Man; Surf's Up, Santa Clause.
Personnel: Rachel Elkins: Vocals, Background Vocals; Delisa Kyzer: Keyboards, Background Vocals; Bruce White: Guitars, Lead Guitar; Al Scarborough: Bass; Joey Stuckey: Lead Guitar, Background Vocals; Bo Sammons: Guitars, Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals; Erik Tjoland: Bass; Sean McGraw: Guitars; Josh Willard: Acoustic Guitar; Alex Tjoland: Drums.