With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, yuletide songs old and new have been blasting out everywhere, with Christmas trees and lights making their presence felt weeks ago.  At a time of year when even the most bah humbug amongst us like to come together and sing a carol or Christmassy song or two, it’s good to see that the Christmas album is still alive and well; we may not be coming together to sing this year, but surely that just means belting our hearts out in the sanctity of our own homes?

Before we take our annual look at our favourite Christmas songs next week, Australian contemporary Christian duo for King & Country, have a full Christmas album out now, entitled A Drummer Boy Christmas.  The brothers, Joel and Luke Smallbone, have had a busy couple of years, culminating in a double Grammy award win, one for a collaboration on ‘God Only Knows’ with the one and only Dolly Parton (look out for Dolly in our Christmas round up next week).  The brothers say that their decision to release a Christmas album is because “the miracle of Christmas captivated us long ago and has been laced into the DNA of the band. We felt it was the imperfectly perfect time for us to do our small part in telling the story of the redemption that Christmas offers to all of us.”

Beginning and ending with a soft, acoustic, version of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter‘, A Drummer Boy Christmas lets us know from the off that this is a mix of traditional and modern Christmas sounds and wraps the band’s Christian roots around it.  There follows new arrangements of well known song and carols, such as ‘Joy to the World‘ and ‘The Little Drummer Boy‘ before a new track, ‘Carol of Joseph‘. This tells the story of Christmas and Jesus’ birth from the perspective of the most forgotten person of all time, Joseph.  A piano led ballad tells the tale of struggle and acceptance that can also be seen as the story of anyone with a new born baby and the miracle of life, with the simple refrain “I believe in you”.

In contrast, another favourite from the album, ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ is an upbeat, pop version of the traditional carol and is sure to get you singing along with gusto.  The upbeat nature of this track is joined by ‘Silent Night‘, with it’s less traditional arrangement of the second verse onwards, and the gospel infused ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain‘.  

Christmas can be a time of conspicuous consumption but this year, a year like no other, many of us are looking forward to celebrate the unity and love that Christmas can bring – this album is a welcome reminder of the Christmas message.

A Drummer Boy Christmas was released on 30 October on Curb Records.

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