It’s no secret I love Christmas. I start my countdown to the next Christmas on the current Christmas EVERY SINGLE YEAR. It started as a bit of a joke, and then I realized that keeping my eye on the time of year when everyone seems to magically get nicer made me feel better. Usually, a countdown alert came about when I was having a particularly craptastic day and needed some peace.
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Well, two of my favorite artists (one solo, one group) released new music today and I’m already deep in holiday sounds. Leslie Odom Jr. and Straight No Chaser have been added to my musical library and they will be played all year long, because I do what I want.
The Christmas Album – Leslie Odom Jr.
So, let’s get something out – I learned of Leslie Odom Jr. from CSI: Miami, Person of Interest, and Supernatural. He played a crossroad demon on SPN, and I remember thinking that he was charming even if he was evil. He’s charismatic and that smile of his is top-notch. But his voice! I didn’t become fully invested in his singing until watching Hamilton this year and being able to see how he evolved through the entire musical. THREE HOURS OF NARRATIVE SINGING! It’s a feat, and from what I hear, he did it flawlessly. Anyway, we’re talking about Christmas music. The Christmas Album is his sophomore Christmas album, and this one brings duets with names like The Walls Group (which impressed my oldest daughter – she’s a fan) Cynthia Erivo, Mzansi Youth Choir, and his wife Nicolette Robinson. The soul that he fuses into holiday favorites and new bops is just what I needed this week specifically. I know I’m being biased, but it’s my site, so deal. I definitely recommend you download this today and calm your spirit. Click the album above to be taken to the site.
At a time where I needed to hear more of what feeds my soul, this does it. I love a good Holiday bop, but hearing the Mzansi Youth Choir sing background during a rousing rendition of The Little Drummer Boy brought tears to my eyes. The Little Drummer Boy is so special to me for a ridiculously odd reason, and I don’t want to get into it now, but to hear it backed by sounds from a portion of the continent that I’ve longed to connect with in every form just makes my soul happy.
Leslie may not be aware, but I’ve appointed myself the head of his Chicago PR and I’m going to see how many people I can get to get this album, because his voice is amazing. Do it. Now.
The Christmas Album is available where all music streams.
Social Christmasing – Straight No Chaser
So, I ‘discovered’ Straight No Chaser almost ten years ago while recovering from delivering the twins. It was just the three of us in the dark, waiting for Shomari to get back with food other than what the hospital offered. I turned to PBS and there was a holiday special on and they were the talent. I was immediately hooked. I’m sure I was also high on the endorphins of adding two more children to my brood, but they were just that good. And they played off of each other well.
Seven years later, I was able to see them in concert at the Civic Opera House here in Chicago and we got to do a private meet and greet. They were just as personable there as they were coming out of the television screen that December night in the hospital.
Social Christmasing isn’t their first Christmas album, it isn’t even their third – they happened to get their start with their unique take on The 12 Days of Christmas, so I’m assuming Christmas is their jam – if it isn’t, I hope they don’t correct me.
Social Christmasing is available everywhere you can stream music.