Sons of Maxwell,
Instant Christmas
(self-produced, 2001)

It begins with a wild Irish Christmas celebration. Next thing you know, some drunken Cape Breton hunters are shooting at Santa.

Instant Christmas lives up to the promise of its name. Sons of Maxwell -- Halifax-based brothers Don and Dave Carroll, with a whole lot of musical help from their friends -- have put together a satisfying package of holiday songs from various traditions.

"Christmas in Killarney" is definitely Irish. "Cape Breton Christmas Eve," written by Dave Carroll, is a fun little song about the perils of hunting deer in the Maritimes after a few too many Christmas Eve libations. "Mele Kalikimaka/Hawaiian Christmas" casts a sunny, tropical slant on the snowy holiday.

Traditional carols on the album are "O Holy Night," "Bleak Mid Winter," "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "I Saw Three Ships." There's also the popular "Let It Snow," as well as Stan Rogers' sobering "First Christmas Away from Home." Dave Carroll also offers his original "Christmas Time at Home," a gentle tribute to family traditions.

Instant Christmas is a pleasant holiday offering that should provide plenty of Christmas sing-along opportunities. And you don't even have to add water to enjoy it.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 21 December 2001