Christmas Music Review: A Look Back

covers for music 11-14_0002Last year, Sandi Duncan Clark reviewed new music for December, including two new Christmas releases. If you still have not picked up these CDs to add to your collection, we urge you to visit these artists’ websites.

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (KJV)
What a wondrous announcement the angels made to the shepherds so many years ago, giving all of us the reason to rejoice and celebrate a precious birth! God’s plan of salvation for the redemption from sin was being fulfilled. I’m so grateful for His birth, death and resurrection for our opportunity to become His child! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
We wish you all a very blessed Holiday, and thank you for your love and support throughout this year. We are so blessed to have each of you read and enjoy our magazine.
We have new music this month, which will encourage you and entertain you throughout the holidays. Some of the albums are Christmas while others are just great Gospel music. We hope that once you read our comments, you’ll look for these at your local Christian music store. These recording will make wonderful Christmas gifts.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas from the Clark household and prayers for a blessed New Year.

Donna King
Journey Records
Producers: Zane & Donna King
Donna King is one fantastic vocalist, and this album is a holiday treasure from start to finish! She sings several songs resounding throughout the centuries with the joy of the birth of Christ including “Joy To The World,” “Silent Night,” and “O Holy Night.” Donna brings something new to each of these cherished songs. I loved hearing her sing Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s well-known “My Favorite Things!”
The title song “Song Of Noel,” was co-written by Donna and Zane. What a glorious song this is to celebrate this most Holy time! Christmas music should be enjoyed throughout the year and this song is definitely one to remember.

Donna King
Donna King

“Christmas Instead” is a catchy little song; one that Donna wrote with Rachel Morgan Perry. Listening to the philosophy in the song, you will make it your own Christmas pledge! I love this! “Heaven Came To Earth” is the third original song and has such a great reminder of God’s gift to redeem us!
Joel Lindsey has long been one of my favorite writers and his “Give Me This Night” is such a precious song. Written as a prayer from Mary asking…
“Give me this night to just be His mother,
Give Him this moment to just be my child.
He has the rest of His life to be Savior,
And so little time to simply be mine,
So give me, oh give me this night…”
Beyond a doubt, this song quickly became another “Christmas Keeper” in my play list and will be a standard much like “Mary, Did You Know.”
Donna sings the beautiful “Ave Maria” and created a version to be enjoyed again on many occasions. This collection of great songs should be added to your music library. According to Donna’s notes in the album, this is a dream come true for her, and a pleasure for us to share. Contact her at

covers for music 11-14_0001CHRISTMAS
Guy Penrod
Gaither Music
Producer: Michael Omartian
The smooth, warm vocals of one of Gospel/Christian music’s favorite soloists presents a new Christmas recording, jam-packed with some of the most enjoyable holiday renderings you will ever hear! If you have enjoyed Guy Penrod on previous solo recordings or with the Gaither Vocal Band, you know you are set for great listening.
Guy has selected 15 songs; some revered Christmas carols and worship songs, some typical holiday tunes and other fun songs that we enjoy hearing and singing along with every Christmas. This is an enjoyable, laid-back prize I enjoyed on a Saturday afternoon in late October, and a number of times since.
There are so many favorites on this recording, but “Breath Of Heaven” has been a real blessing. I also like “Cradle In Bethlehem” and “O Holy Night.” Guy’s version of two all-time Christmas hits: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” will please every listener.
Amy Grant and Vince Gill join him on “Tennessee Christmas” and do a beautiful job. I love hearing the entire Penrod family sing “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” with each family member singing a featured part.
Several other songs deserve special mention, including: “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland,” and the medley, “Little Drummer Boy/We Three Kings.” This is a solid hour of music pleasure to put you in a positive mood for the holidays. You’ll find CHRISTMAS available at your local Christian book store and at

covers for music 11-14_0003SOMETIMES IT TAKES A MOUNTAIN
Gaither Vocal Band
Gaither Music Group
Producers: Bill Gaither, Ben Isaacs, David Phelps
Anticipation has been building for this release since the announcement of the new group line-up. David Phelps (tenor), Wes Hampton (tenor), Adam Crabb (lead), Todd Suttles (bass/baritone) along with Bill make up this new Gaither Vocal Band. With the wide vocal styles represented here, it was interesting to see how producers worked their magic.
From the first song: “Jesus Gave Me Water,” the recording is filled with surprises. Among the new songs in the 14-track line-up, are several new versions of songs from past Gaither Vocal Band recordings. “The Night Before Easter” has a new arrangement, and Todd Suttles shines on “Peace In The Valley.” I love the new presentation of “Written In Red.” It’s wonderful to be reminded at this holiday time, that Christ came to earth to prove just how much we are loved.
Mosie Lister’s “Happy Rhythm” is a classic presentation with the traditional piano intro, yet additional instrumental touches bring excitement. Any Mosie Lister song arranged in quartet fashion is a benefit to treasure!
Adam Crabb blends so well with this new vocal group and does a fantastic job on the title song, “Sometimes It Takes A Mountain.” This one has a unique arrangement and reminds me how this talented young man has progressed vocally since we first heard him with his family. What a blessing!
“Let It Start In Me” and “Praises” are two more amazing blessings. The prayer of every Christian should be that we experience revival and it should begin with each of us.
There is something here for every fan of Gospel/Christian music. The Gaither Vocal Band has always crossed musical boundaries with their music and this is no exception. It is phenomenal to know that these men will carry the message of Jesus Christ throughout the world, via their recordings, their travels, on television and the internet.
SOMETIMES IT TAKES A MOUNTAIN is available through and at your local Christian music store.

covers for music 11-14_0004MEETING IN HEAVEN
The Chuck Wagon Gang
Sing The Songs Of Marty Stuart
New Haven Records
Producer: Mick Conley
This present group of “the Gang” as they are affectionately known, is Shaye Smith, Julie Hudson, Stan Hill and Jeremy Stephens, and they have selected 11 Gospel works by country artist Marty Stuart for their new recording. Most of these are fresh, new songs; however, one; “The Gospel Plow,” is an older song some will remember from the early ’90’s.
Shaye Smith is the granddaughter of Anna Carter Gordon Davis, the original alto singer with the group. Shaye has managed and toured with the Gang since 1999, and carries on the tradition of her family. The group has experienced a resurgence of interest and a host of new fans since Shaye took the reins.
My grandparents were fans of the early Chuck Wagon Gang, and I grew up enjoying their older recordings. As personnel has changed in the past I found myself comparing the sound of the newer members, and I really enjoy this group.
I especially like Shaye’s feature on “His Love Will Lead Us On,” and the entire group on “Rest A Little While.” I think they sound the most like the original group on “Pray The Power Down” when Stan is featured on the verses and Jeremy has a good bass run as well as does each lady, in the chorus. Great job on this one!
“The Gospel Plow” is a great song, and the group sounds so very much like the original group; D.P. ‘Dad’ Carter, Rose, Anna and Jim.
If you are a fan of the Chuck Wagon Gang, you must have this new album. You may contact the Gang at 704-918-9919.


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