Saturday, November 30, 2013

When It's Merry, Mary! (Music Review: Liz Callaway, Merry And Bright)

Liz Callaway's Holiday album is titled "Merry And Bright," and what an apt title, indeed. I cannot think of a better description to describe her voice: there is such brightness to her instrument that it is instantly cheery and effervescent. What better way then to open her album with the two versions of "Joy To The World." Her version just screams Hallelujah and Sussanah!  Then she follows up with "Grown Up Christmas List," and she sings it with plaintive knowing that I had forgotten the real "melody" of this song as I have heard numerous melisma-infected versions of this. And I always look forward to a duet with her sister Ann Hampton Callaway (there's always one in each of their albums) where they do a medlette of "Silent Night/Mary Did You Know." I have said this before, but no two voices in all the world blends better together: the yellow sunniness of Liz's with Ann's mahogany hued alto.  Liz's son Nicholas Callaway Foster joins the merriment in "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" (he did the arrangement) and it's a cool cool jazzy arrangeent that will makes your fingers snap instantly. And there's a beautiful melancholy in her "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" that makes one wistful and longing. And then it...ends? "Merry and Bright" is just an EP, I realize, and I suddenly am more melancholy. I wish it was a full album. Curiously, though, my iPod played her version of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" (from her album 'Anywhere I Wander') and it somehow was the perfect end to this wonderful, if short, journey.

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