Home for Christmas is the second Christmas release for Celtic Woman, and it is beautifully done.
Celtic Woman consists of Chloë Agnew, Lisa Lambe, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and Máiréad Nesbitt, who is a phenomenal fiddle player. They all sing wonderfully, and the harmonies are exceptional.
Of course, the group does an excellent job on serious holiday numbers, such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” where Lambe does a sensitive, stirring version that sets up a tender and nostalgic mood.
For the traditional hymns of Christmas, the beautiful voices and harmonies work well. “We Three Kings” receives a solemn and majestic treatment. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” may send shivers up your spine and has a lovely choir. “Silent Night” is absolutely beautiful, as fans would certainly expect from this group.
Agnew sings in Latin for “Adeste Fideles,” giving the familiar “O Come All Ye Faithful” even more depth and resonance. Mhaolchatha provides a beautiful and poignant “What Child Is This?” and “Joy to the World” is triumphant with the addition of orchestra and marvelous fiddle playing from Nesbitt.
But these Irish ladies also do a surprisingly enjoyable job on lighter Christmas fare. Agnew sounds slyly mischievous on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” while “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” features excellent group vocals and is greatly enhanced by Nesbitt’s fiddling. “Winter Wonderland,” with its whispered beginning rising to the happy vocals, is an absolute delight. The spiritual, “Mary’s Boy Child,” is a surprising choice but is done very well here.
Do not expect much of a Celtic sound; aside from the fiddle or the pipes in the arrangements. These songs could have been done by a talented and polished group of female performers anywhere. But the music is stirring, lush and gorgeous, and you will certainly want to add this to your Christmas collection. It is a perfect background for holiday dinners, quiet family gatherings, or large cocktail parties, as well as for relaxing and listening alone.