Peter Furler Christmas Feat. David Ian - Cover.jpegpick-of-the-monthEven if your roaring fireplace is courtesy of YouTube, Peter Furler Christmas should be enough to bring that intimate Christmas feeling.

Peter Furler Christmas (featuring David Ian)
Peter Furler
Prescott records
10 tracks / 28:31

'Gotta love those pleasant surprises – especially around Christmas time. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I wasn't expecting much from another Christmas album by an artist known mainly for commercial CCM pop. In this case, former newsboys front-man Peter Furler teams up with another popster: David Ian, former lead guitarist from Superchick. The expectation level didn't exactly jump a notch with that information – in fact, visions of auto-tuned guitar-wielding sugar plums danced in my head.

Boy, was I wrong.

For one thing, it turns out that Ian is an accomplished arranger and jazz pianist – for another, Furler doesn't whistle on a single track. Really. Actually, we get to hear a kinder, gentler Furler (to borrow a phrase) softly and reverently singing eight classic Christmas songs and performing spoken-word on two others.

Avoiding trite re-runs of songs like "Sleighride," and maudlin romantic doo-wop tunes like "Blue Christmas," Furler and Ian get right to the heart of Christmas with songs like "Silent Night," "O Come, All Ye Faithful," and "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear." Ian's arrangements imply a more reverent Vince Guaraldi, airy and touched with tasteful jazz stylings, lightly orchestrated, sometimes appropriately melancholy and – on occasion – with a hint of the mystery of the miracle of Bethlehem.

The inclusion of some eastern musical sounds and an ancient instrument or two (the Duduk – a wind instrument – provides an eerily-authentic desert quality) transform this half-hour of music into a contemplative respite from the busyness of the holiday season. Augmented occasionally by intimate strings, the effect is that of a soft, jazzy Christmas haze designed to create a warm glow late at night – maybe on Christmas Eve after the activities of the day fade into the background and the true meaning of the day comes to the fore. Now, if they could only include a roaring fireplace and a light snowfall in a deluxe package... well, then the picture would be complete. But even if your roaring fireplace is courtesy of YouTube, Peter Furler Christmas will no-doubt be enough to bring that intimate Christmas feeling, anyway.

- Bert Saraco

{module Possibly Related Articles - Also search our Legacy Site}