Halloween has come and gone for yet another year, and everyone knows what that means: It means the stores and airwaves will soon be filled with the sounds of the holiday season if they are not already. It also means that the store shelves will be filled with the annual endless display of seasonal music for everyone to buy. Another new addition to that array of holiday music released today through iMerica Entertainment in Jan Daley’s new compilation record, Home for Christmas. The 13-song record is an intriguing presentation that is worth hearing at least once. That is due to its featured selections. For the most part, audiences get here, plenty of familiar holiday standards, just in Daley’s own interpretation. Those songs will make for good background at any holiday party filled with good food, drink, friends and family. For all of the overly familiar songs featured in this compilation, Daley does change things up just a little bit in a pair of originals in the form of ‘Can’t Give You Any Answers’ and ‘Nothing Like Christmas/The Christmas Waltz.’ Each song will receive its own attention here. They are just a part of what makes this compilation interesting. The inclusion of the far lesser-covered holiday song, ‘A Christmas Love Song’ (from the team of Johnny Mandel, Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman) is also of note, even with it being a cover. It will also be examined as part of this overall discussion. Each song is important in its own way to the whole of the compilation’s presentation. All things considered, they make the record worth hearing at least once.
Jan Daley’s brand new holiday music compilation, Home For Christmas, is a presentation that is sure to find a home in some audiences’ holiday music collections. That is due in large part to the two originals featured in the record, ‘Can’t Give You Any Answers’ and ‘Nothing Like Christmas/The Christmas Waltz.’ According to the notes that she wrote in the compilation’s booklet about ‘Can’t Give You Any Answers,’ Daley stated that the song’s inspiration came from work that she did with the homeless and runaways at her local Salvation Army church. That work led to a song here that will appeal easily to Salvationists as well as any contemporary Christian music lover. The song’s arrangement leans heavily on its keyboards and bass line for its foundation. The overall approach and sound will appeal to fans of Amy Grant.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Can’t Give You Any Answers’ adds to that Amy Grant comparison as it takes a decidedly Christian turn. Daley sings in the song’s chorus, “Can’t give you any answers/But I know who can/He gave us Christmas morning/And Jesus the man.” This and the content in the song’s verses adds even more to that comparison as she sings about those who are not with family and friends. Again, Daley comes right out in the record’s liner notes and states that her work with the noted individuals played into the song’s lyrical content. To that end, the song gains even more of that Amy Grant style comparison. The whole of the noted lyrical and musical content again shows what makes the song stand out among the record’s featured works. It is just one of the two originals featured in the collection, too. Daley also features the original, ‘Nothing Like Christmas/The Christmas Waltz’ as part of the set’s presentation.
‘Nothing Like Christmas/The Christmas Waltz’ is the polar opposite of ‘Can’t Give You Any Answers.’ The song is far more secular and seasonal. This song features a gentle, flowing danceable tune. The subtle use of the brushes against the snare alongside the equally soft hi-hat keeps time solidly while giving the song the slightest touch. The addition of the string arrangement alongside Daley’s moving vocal delivery makes the song even more of a throwback to another age of jazz. It is a work that those who appreciate that age and its sounds will appreciate.
In regards to the song’s lyrical content, this song is pure Christmas. She sings about looking forward to Santa’s annual return, frosted windows, and the season’s sounds. It is just a full-on romantic vintage holiday tune in its approach and easily the best of the album’s featured works. When it is set against the more religious-themed original that is ‘Can’t Give You Any Answers,’ the two originals are reason enough for audiences to hear this record. They are just part of what makes the collection worth hearing. Daley’s cover of the lesser-known holiday song, ‘A Christmas Love Song’ adds to the record’s interest in its own way.
‘A Christmas Love Song’ was composed in 1991 by Johnny Mandel, Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman. Clearly it is a modern work, which is why audiences hear it far less than standards, such as ‘White Christmas,’ ‘O Holy Night,’ and ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas,’ all of which are also featured among the record’s works. That Daley would take the time to include this lesser known song (and the equally lesser-known songs, ‘The Best Gift’ and ‘Grown-Up Christmas List’) is laudable. Daley’s performance of ‘A Christmas Love Song’ is a unique presentation of the song. Her vocal delivery alongside the romantic holiday tune conjures thoughts of Vanessa Williams. It is also comparable to the rendition presented by Michael Feinstein. Put simply, it is a song that is certain to set the mood for any couple on those cold holiday nights whether in front of the fireplace or somewhere else. That sensual approach and the very fact that the song is lesser-known collectively makes the song notable in its own right. When it is considered along with the other lesser-known covers and Daley’s two original compositions, the grouping works with the record’s more well-known standards and their performances to make the record in whole that much more interesting. All in all, the record proves worth hearing at least once.
Jan Daley’s new holiday music compilation, Home for Christmas is a viable option for anyone who is looking for a new way to get in the holiday spirit without being overrun by the same old holiday standards. That is proven in part through the two originals featured in the record. They show two distinct sides of Daley. The inclusion of the rarer, modern holiday tune, ‘A Christmas Love Song’ (along with ‘Grown-Up Christmas List’ and ‘The Best Gift’) makes for even more interest. When all of these songs are considered along with Daley’s performance of so many more well-known standards, the whole makes clear why Home for Christmas will find a home in plenty of audiences’ holiday music libraries.
Home for Christmas is available now. More information on the record is available along with all of Jan Daley’s latest news at:
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