Silver Belles,
Silver Belles
(independent, 2014)

It's the arrangements that sell it.

Yes, there are countless Christmas CDs on the market, and more flood the crowded field each year. So, what makes you want to listen to a particular new CD?

In the case of the Silver Belles -- Kristen Brewer, Melissa Brun and Julie Keough -- it's the unique arrangements of familiar tunes, as well as the excellent vocal harmonies and distinctive cello foundation, that make this album work so well.

They're all great tracks. My favorites include "Away in a Manger," which makes use of both familiar tunes for the song; "Deck the Halls," which has an innovative and bouncy feel that gets you moving; a creatively presented "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," and a powerful "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day."

Brewer and Keough take lead on most of the vocals, with Brun stepping to the fore on a few tracks. Keough also plays guitar, while Brun's unusual use of the cello makes the trio's arrangements soar.

Besides the three Belles, the album features Scott Williams on piano, Mike Wittrien on bass, Jacob Mishler on percussion and Marybeth Kern on flute.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Tom Knapp

20 December 2014

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