Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel,
Peace on Earth
(Narada, 2004)

Peace on Earth: The Best of Tingstad & Rumbel Christmas is a very nice and soothing collection of holiday favorites. But, before you roll your eyes and say, "Oh, no, not another 'collection of holiday favorites' AGAIN," keep in mind that this album is:
• instrumental (which means it's free of cheesy vocals).
• from the Grammy Award-winning duo of Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel.
• a Narada album (admit it, they rarely disappoint).

Yes, the selection is rather obvious run-of-the-mill Christmas carols, but it's a pleasant kind of obvious.

It also helps that Tingstad & Rumbel provide a very comfortable atmosphere throughout the album. Subtlety is the theme, as the music inherently places itself in the background. While it makes it difficult to review, it's a wonderful effect to put you in the holiday mood. Subtle nuances in each verse help the instrumental tone from some Christmas carols' droning repetitive nature.

As if this album doesn't have enough going for it, Tingstad & Rumbel keep giving. (Hey, it IS the season!) Pianist David Lanz contributes on "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Catalan" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." His presence on those tracks makes a good thing even better, providing a subtle strength.

Some of the highlights on this album include an exceptionally wonderful rendition of "Silent Night" as well as a contemplative "Auld Lang Syne" (which works so much better than the typical sonorous drinking-song version). Besides the usual suspects of holiday favorites, there's also "Catalan," a tune that doesn't show up very often.

Whether you're in a holiday mood or an any-day mood, The Best of Tingstad & Rumbel Christmas will provide a nice background sound and help make any day merry and bright.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 18 December 2004

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