Jason Gray Christmas Stories. The greatest story of all time.

Jason Gray: Christmas Stories: Repeat The Sounding Joy
Artist: Jason Gray
Centricity Records UPC 829619118421
13 Tracks
Running Length: 50 minutes

Jason Gray's first Christmas CD tells a story from beginning to end, like a tour of the birth of Jesus. Gray takes familiar Christmas carols, such as "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful" and weaves the story of the Jesus' birth as an addition to the carol. Thus, the listener goes from the gathering of people to Bethlehem through the Innkeeper, Joseph's song, the shepherds, Wisemen and ending with the coming of the Savior, "Joy To The World." From beginning to end, the music could be a 50-minute program by itself, with no intermission. It is a mix of original songs based on people in the New Testament (Mary, Joseph, Wisemen, Shepherd) and familiar carols "Ave Maria," "O Holy Night" and "Joy To The World."

My favorites are "Rest (The Song Of The Innkeeper)," about a busy man, with lyrics of "...lost inside a forest of a million trees trying to find a way back to me...I need rest..." "O Holy Night" is the traditional carol, but done, laid-back in a throaty voice to have you really understand the familiar lyrics. "Easier" (The Song Of the Wiseman) is incisive about "...hide behind my offerings." In Joseph's song, "Forgiveness Is A Miracle," he muses, "...the child was not your baby." "Children Again" has a choral background and they wonder, "...when grown-up dreams don't come true, give us a heart like His own." These are understandable lyrics.

Jason Gray is a solid vocalist and his lyrics speak in a language common to everyone. Instrumental accompaniment is concise, though the musicians are not listed. Guitar is especially effective in "Gloria!," and percussion reminiscent of unusual instruments of Rivertribe are used in the last carol, "Joy To The World." Gray goes on tour in December 2012 with the music from this album.

Copyright 2012 Marie Asner

A complimentary copy of Jason Gray: Christmas Stories, Repeat The Sounding Joy has been provided by Bozeman Media.

Additional Phantom Tollbooth holiday CD reviews with solo artists:

Eileen Ivers

Joe Henschel

David Klinkenberg