O Holy Night

O Holy Night

Sara Groves delivers a noticeably different sort of Christmas album with O Holy Night. The Christian singer/songwriter has reflected upon her experiences as a parent and humanitarian activist on her previous releases. On this holiday effort, she brings the same highly personal touch to originals like “It’s True” (a reaffirmation of Christ’s glory featuring her young son Toby) and “To Be With You,” a warm portrait of a family gathering. She waxes thoughtful on the string-accented “Peace Peace” and gets quirky on the whimsical “Toy Packaging.” Groves’ most unorthodox moments come when she radically alters the melodies to traditional favorites like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Angels We Have Heard On High.” Even “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” gets a makeover. Though these revisions sound jarring at first, they succeed in making the listener consider the meaning of the lyrics in a fresh context. Groves’ folksy vocals – sweet, with a plaintive edge – give the tracks an intimate feel. O Holy Night is a heartfelt, sometimes surprising holiday gift from one of Christian music’s most underrated talents.

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