Rather than record another laidback version of “White Christmas,” Point of Grace recorded the 70 year old Irving Berlin classic with a joy-filled acoustic-based tempo that makes the song feel contemporary while also showcasing the fantastic three-part harmonies of the group. The new song “Candy Cane Lane” sounds like a classic, like a song from one of the classic animated Christmas specials. There’s a section with fiddle and steel guitar solos and a pianist gently tickles the ivories behind the vocals and if there was a song to choose to release to country music radio this year, it’d be “Candy Cane Lane, “ in my humble opinion.
CCM artist Andrew Peterson wrote and originally recorded the fantastic ballad “Labor of Love,” a song that will likely find a welcoming audience on Christian radio stations this holiday season but that doesn’t mean that it’s not as rootsy and country-sounding as any of the other songs on Home For The Holidays. The ‘title track’ was nicely cobbled together as a medley with “Silver Bells” and it works really well. “Immanuel” isn’t a recording of the hymn of the same name but a more recently written tune from Tony Wood and Chad Cates that tells of the simple beginnings of the baby Jesus and the strength that he has given many. Beautiful fiddles, mandolins and b3-organ set the melodic background for the classic “Little Drummer Boy,” which is updated for the three-part harmonies of Point of Grace but doesn’t steer too far away from what makes the song such a beloved part of the holiday season every year.
Echos of SheDaisy appear again on the joyful version of Johnny Marks “Holly Jolly Christmas” while the new arrangement of “Joy To The World” by producer Stepanie Chapman simply sparkles and shimmers with the joy that is in the title of this traditional hymn. Two new songs round-out this lean 10 song collection and they’re both welcome additions to traditional country music Christmas songs as “Not So Silent Night” features simple fiddle, Mandolin, piano and a little bit of bass. It’s the kind of modern Christmas hymn that can and probably will be played in churches all around the world. “The Giver and The Gift” features piano from superstar pianist Jim Brickman while never losing the fiddle which helps to lead a tastefully small string section.
Point of Grace are one of – if not the – most successful Christian musical groups to ever come around and they showcase why on this fantastic new holiday album. The trio’s transition to the more organic and rootsy contemporary country scene is a natural one for them. Home For The Holidays is one of the few country music-based holiday releases of 2010 and it should help fill the holiday music void for fans who love to buy new Christmas records every year.