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Traditional Christmas music, with a touch of country.

Music Review: George Strait – Fresh Cut Christmas

Hallmark Gold Crown Stores are offering country music fans and connoisseurs of traditional Christmas music a special treat this holiday season. Customers can purchase George Strait's Fresh Cut Christmas when they also buy three Hallmark cards. The album contains ten traditional holiday tracks, handpicked by Strait, and will be sold alongside a special line of George Strait "Oh Christmas Tree" cards.

The best quality of George Strait is his recognizable voice, clearly and emotively hitting every note. One of the most prominent examples is on "We Three Kings." The musical mix of orchestration, a country fiddle, and slide guitar is a simply beautiful background to his rich voice.

StraitCDcoverFor a more fun and upbeat dose of holiday cheer, there is the delightful "Up on the House Top." Again with the fiddle, this time accented with sleigh bells, piano, and Strait's cheerful delivery. "Jingle Bells" has that same fun flavor and is one the kids can enjoy just as much as the adults. My particular tastes lean toward the old hymns. "Old Come All Ye Faithful," "Hark The Harold Angels Sing," and "Joy to The World" are just three tracks where Strait is able to really shine, showing both his range and charm.

What is both endearing and a bit disappointing about the collection is the lack of anything original. While it makes every track recognizable and full of memories of Christmas past, it would have been nice to hear Strait sing something new, something written for this collection. But even without that, this collection will be a welcome addition to your holiday music collection.

Stait's long and illustrious career has included 33 platinum or multi-platinum albums and 70 million records sold. This month, he will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the second artist to be honored in the Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present category. He also holds the record for the most Country Music Award nominations – 73 – and was named their Vocalist of the Year five times. This year, he scored his 53rd number one song, "Give It Away," becoming the only country music artist to have so many chart topping hits.

Hallmark CDs are sold exclusively at nearly 4,000 Hallmark Gold Crown stores. A Fresh Cut Christmas is available for a limited time and can be purchased for $7.95 when you also buy three Hallmark greeting cards. The collection is one you can enjoy for many years to come and will serve as great background music, whether you're trimming the tree or entertaining friends this holiday season.

About Connie Phillips

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