Steven Curtis Chapman’s fourth holiday album reflects the Christian singer/songwriter’s sense of renewal after enduring a period of personal sorrow. Joy is infused with a warm, inclusive spirit that can be heard in its eclectic song choices and engaging performances. Traditional standards like “Joy to the World” and “We Three Kings” are interspersed with less-familiar hymns like the poignant “In the Bleak Midwinter." Modern-day favorites like “Let it Snow” and “Christmas Time Is Here” are given personal treatments. Most notable are the six original tunes Chapman contributes to the project. The romantic “Christmas Kiss” finds him adding a hint of Mel Tormé to his guy-next-door charm, while “Christmas Time Again” (cowritten by Chapman with his son Caleb) is a cheerful rockabilly number that invites comparisons to Brian Setzer. Also impressive are “Christmas in Kentucky” (a hometown salute that broadens into a message of world unity) and “Christmas Card” (a compassionate prayer that resonates beyond the holiday season).

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