Christmas Albums 2021

Here are some presents for you direct from Santa himself, new holiday-themed releases to put you in the mood. Happy Holidays!

Putumayo Presents Jazz Christmas - Various Artists

Putumayo Presents Jazz Christmas

Pianist Tom Grant gets the snowball rolling here with a sublime instrumental version of "Winter Wonderland." In fact most everything here is instrumental, including Oscar Peterson's take on "Let it Snow" and Houston Person's swinging interpretation of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" but there are vocals on the let's-get-the-Christmas-party-started "Christmas Time in New Orleans" by the wonderfully-named Lars Edegran and His Santa Claus Revelers. Also contributing are Dixieland Ramblers, Chad Lawson Trio, Charles Brown and Papa Don Vappie's New Orleans Jazz Band who put a Big Easy spin on "Silver Bells."

L. Shankar - Christmas from India

Christmas from India

One of the most unique holiday albums this season, Christmas from India features prog rock violinist L. Shankar dressing up a set of mostly well-known songs with the flavorings of India, including a jaunty "Jingle Bells," a sitar and tablas featuring "O Holy Night," an instrumental version of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and a tablas and violin driven romp through "Joy to the World." Shankar offers two original tunes here too; an effervescent instrumental called "Christmas Time" and the set closing "Saviour," also an instrumental. Shankar handles just about everything here, playing double violin and keyboards and taking care of the singing on the cuts with vocals.

Lori McKenna - Christmas is Right Here

Christmas is Right Here

The GRAMMY Award winning singer and musician begins her first holiday effort, a six-song EP, with a cover of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." But the other five cuts here are McKenna originals so fans will have to spend some time with them to get familiar. "Christmas Without Crying" expresses how hard it is at the holidays to miss departed loved ones, while "North Pole," rich with her delicate acoustic guitar picking, explores the loneliness of being alone at Christmas. "Still Christmas in Nashville" and "Hail Mary" are similarly tinged with sadness but McKenna ends Christmas is Right Here with "Grateful," a gently-stated appreciation of the good that exists through it all.

Jeremiah Lockwood - A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood's Guitar Soli Chanukah Record

Jeremiah Lockwood

Following in the fret-steps of John Fahey's classic late '60s release The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Record, here guitar virtuoso Lockwood presents a set of songs associated with Chanukah, performed on acoustic guitar and featuring no other instruments or voice. That means you don't have to know the rituals and traditions that go along with these songs to fully enjoy Lockwood's interpretations, but your appreciation will be all the more if you are familiar with "Maoz Tzur," "Al Hanisim Izhar Cohen" and "Chanuka Oy Chanuka." Known by numerous other titles, Lockwood also includes a sprightly version of the children's song "Little Dreydl," followed up with the similar "Drey Dreydl." Lockwood's guitar work rings spectacularly throughout.

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