It’s not just beginning to look a lot like Christmas…it’s literally a week away. Most of you have all the decorations up and the presents wrapped. But if you are like me, you might be struggling to get into the spirit this year. Not to worry though. This article is bound to help us all start to feel the magic of the season. You might remember a review I wrote not too long ago about a man named Russell Lee. This man INSTANTLY won me over. So, what better way to spark that holiday cheer than to check out his Christmas album?

At first glance, I couldn’t help but smile. He has included some of my most treasured songs. Imagine Gordon Lightfoot singing O Little Town of Bethlehem. Just picture it. That voice…Russell’s voice…humming through your ears. Simple music accompanies him. And once again, I am taken back to my childhood. Christmas Eve with my dad and his brothers singing my favorite songs. This man can do no wrong in my book. The album continues on to a song that I haven’t heard before, Little Toy Trains. I even had to Google it to see if it may even be an original only to find that it was originally written by Roger Miller in 1967. Where have I been hiding that I am just now hearing this song for the first time? Then We Three Kings and Do You Hear What I Hear? sung as beautifully as they could be.

Next up…a musically unique take on The Little Drummer Boy. It has a big feel to it with deep guitar picks strumming along with it. This may be my new favorite version of this song. Up next is a guitar and piano infused version of Silent Night. It is at this point that I realize that I am loving the music behind the vocals as much as I do the the vocals them self. Silent Night means the most to me out of all the Christmas songs and Russell did this song so much justice. The beat picks up a bit with Deck the Halls, Joy To The World and even God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I really enjoy the upbeat versions and the mix of instruments he uses in these songs. Especially the sax. I’m kinda a sucker for a good sax.

By this point, I am singing along…dancing in my seat…tapping my feet. So when Away in a Manager started, I was caught off guard. He changed it up a bit. Same lyrics but the melody is different. At first, you can’t help but be a bit frustrated by the changes until you realize that it is ridiculously pretty. I think it was courageous of him to take that chance and he lucked out because it turned out great. He followed it up by The First Noel, sung to the traditional melody, and his warming vocals sing just like Kenny Rogers’ would.

The album ends with Santa Clause is Coming To Town and I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a million times better after listening. Russell Lee, you have done it again. You reached out and touched my heart. You created an amazing Christmas album that is worthy of any holiday party. It will be enjoyed in this home for years to come. I hope you and your family have a magical holiday and this fan looks forward to what you have in store for us in 2017!



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Extended Plays is an ongoing music series written by myself and my partner James. We listen to music, go with our gut and spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. We hope you take the time to check out the artists we review for yourselves. We tend to believe that we are always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that our opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but ourselves.

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