This Christmas album is a bit different from the other one I've reviewed so far this season. The vibe is more folk/acoustic than traditional — even the traditional songs are given a slightly different feel.
There are several standout tracks on this one — Ritter and Petito write the title track, which is outstanding. They do a wonderful rendition of "Christmas Time is Here," which every Peanuts fan will be familiar with. "We Three Kings" and "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" contribute a traditional flavor to the album, and offer an opportunity for everyone to sing along.
The album on the whole is excellent. I've never had the chance to hear Ritter and Petito before, and was impressed with Ritter's vocals. I read a review that said, "If you ever wondered what James Taylor would sound like if he were a girl, now you know," and I'd be inclined to agree. Her vocals are perfect for Christmas music. Petito's guitar work is impressive — to say nothing of the mandolin work he contributes on "This Christmas Morning."
The only quibble I have with this album is the arrangement of "The Bells of Christmas" — aka "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I wasn't thrilled with the new arrangement, though anyone not familiar with the traditional music probably would enjoy the song a lot. It's one of my favorite Christmas songs, though, so I noticed. I enjoyed the arrangement of "Oh Christmas Tree" much more.
That's a minor quibble, though. This CD has earned a place in my regular Christmas rotation. It's not traditional, but it's good — and that's important, too.