Well, it looks like this particular Grinch finds himself once again reviewing a Christmas album, but that's OK because it's the kind I like. My Holiday, on the Vanguard label, is talented young vocalist Mindy Smith's third album but her first holiday effort, and she's assembled a very nice mix of traditional holiday pieces and new songs, including some of her own compositions.
Coming up via the Nashville route, Mindy has been performing professionally for only a few years but in addition to appearing on the Billboard charts, she's beginning to build quite a reputation as one of the best singers around. In addition to her recording success, she's become a frequent guest on TV shows and has also made appearances with Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, and Alison Krauss.
Returning the favor, Alison here backs up Mindy on harmony with "Away In A Manger," and the two friends display an obvious affinity, making the track one of the best on the album.
It's on this and other traditional holiday songs that Mindy's sweet voice and straight-ahead style are shown to best advantage. "Silver Bells" was another enjoyable listen, as was "I'll Be Home For Christmas," with Mindy kicking that old chestnut up a notch or two.
Speaking of chestnuts, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)," is here too, and it's nicely done, but new songs are also deserving of a listen and a couple of Mindy's own compositions are keepers. The title tune starts the album off by setting a soft mood, and the playful "Santa Will Find You" was fun, but Mindy's established fans will find a real comfort level while listening to "Come Around," a tune closer to her normal style.
Overall, a good verdict on this holiday album, and an easy to make prediction that the gorgeous and talented Mindy Smith will be heard from again.
1. My Holiday
2. The Christmas Song
3. Santa Will Find You
4. Follow the Shepherd Home
5. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
6. Away in a Manger
7. I Know the Reason
8. Silver Bells
9. I'll Be Home for Christmas
10. It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)
11. Come Around
(Follow Amazon link for sound clips.)