The ‘Greatest Gift of All’ in the Christmas music stakes of 2016 comes from one of my favourite bands, Rascal Flatts. A stunning album that cannot be overlooked for innovative arrangement and diverse styling.
Rascal Flatts is an American country music trio formed in Columbus, Ohio in 2000, with 22.5 million albums sold and over 28 million digital downloads and delivered 16 #1 singles to the top of the charts. Rascal Flatts is the most awarded Country group of the past decade, earning over 40 trophies from the ACAs, ACMs, AMAs, CMAs, People’s Choice Awards and more. As one of the hottest-selling acts on tour in any genre, they’ve sold over 7 million concert tickets. Their performances are state-of-the art, house-rocking extravaganzas, sold-out excursions into musical excitement that have included as opening acts some of this generation’s great artists, including Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean.
In 2016 the country trio released their first Christmas album, entitled ‘The Greatest Gift of All’, featuring 10 of their favourite Christmas songs. ‘The Greatest Gift of All’ was produced by Rascal Flatts themselves and highlights the originality and moving performances that the band has become known for throughout their career.
This collection of carols and songs showcase the bands creativity with unexpected twists at every turn. Musically this album is genius and above anything else I have reviewed this Christmas season and thus is my go to album of Christmas 2016.
This so many great tracks there is something impressive about every song:
‘Joy to the World’ is big hitting opening number reminiscent of a big Israel Houghton Christmas production complete with horn section. ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ has some altered lyrics that took me by surprise but certainly does the carol justice, A slowed version of ‘Deck the Halls’ is distinctive, ‘O Holy Night’ showcasing the vocal talents of all three members of the band and features some very clever ‘James Bond-esque’ chord changes on the Piano, ‘Let it Snow’ in a karaoke bar Hammond organ wielding style, ‘Silent Night’ is a family collaboration featuring the vocals of the band members kids, A great version with horns on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Someday at Christmas’ and a rhythmically altered version of ‘First Noel’.
Even with such ingenuity in these songs, my favourite is a re-recording of ‘A Strange Way to Save the World’ originally recorded by vocal group 4Him. Certainly, there is something special here with meaning far beyond the lyrics, that hits me on a level I would not have understood 3 months ago before the birth of my son, even as a Christian who is well acquainted with the reason for the season. Reminiscent of MercyMe’s “Joseph’s Lullaby” combined with Rascal Flatts’ “Ellsworth” (two absolute winner tracks), this song has hit me very deep down this year and bought out a range of emotions.
A fantastic album that has become my go-to for Christmas 2016 and I would recommend it to any country aficionado or carol lover.
To purchase this album: Australian iTunes
For more of Rascal Flatts: http://www.rascalflatts.com/