Christmas Is

Christmas Is

This former 4Him vocalist mixes up seasonal favorites with his own material in this acoustic guitar and piano-centered project. Harris’ earth-toned voice lends an intimate feel to his performances. He takes a few chances with some creative arrangements, lending “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” a crisply upbeat tone and giving “Silent Night” a slightly jazz spin. Especially effective is his recasting of “The Little Drummer Boy” as a simmering percussive number. Harris’ original tunes are filled with reverence while remaining grounded in everyday scenes and experiences. The sentimental title tune features Mark singing with 13-year-old daughter Maddison, while “All Is Well At Christmas” combines a traditional tone with a modern country-rock setting. His signature tune, “A Strange Way to Save the World,” caps off the album with its vivid invocation of the Nativity. Christmas Is may be subdued by current pop/rock holiday album standards, but these songs of home and faith have the sustained glow of a fireplace on a cold winter’s night.

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