Happy Chanukah! 🙂 Merry Christmas! 🙂 This December Holidays Music collection is part one and features supercool music artists Elvis Presley, Heffron Drive, James Maslow and more! 🙂 Part two is scheduled to post later this month and features such artists as Paul Revere & the Raiders, Big Time Rush, Bruno Mars & the Hooligans, LUNAFALL, In Real Life and Why Don’t We. 🙂 I hope you enjoy these review collections and the music that they feature. 🙂
Paul Revere’s Raiders, in their rockin’ Christmas concerts, include a beautiful version of the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. 🙂 It’s one of the very best versions I have ever heard; an excellent ballad gently sung from the heart by lead singer Darren Dowler. 😎 The footage I was blessed to see is from a few years ago and it’s a treasure of a concert. 😎 Paul Revere’s Raiders have a reputation for great concerts filled with good music and fun. 🙂 The stage set-up is festive and cheerful with decorations; I love the tinsel and multi-colored lights draped about the stage – as well as on some of the instruments. 🙂 Their Raider uniform jackets are a bright red and Paul’s tri-cornered hat, which is usually black, is bright red as well – with white trim. The opening of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is so beautiful as Darren’s singing goes perfectly with Danny Krause’s keys. 😎 Excellent! 🙂 The instrumental break in the song is beautiful as Darren turns the focus to Danny Krause’s highlight on the keys. 🙂 Paul Revere shows his approval by word and action as he, along with the rest of the guys, join in instrumentally – Ron Foos’s right-on bass, Doug Heath’s fine guitar playing, Tommy Scheckel’s awesome cymbal-shimmering all help make the performance exceptional. 😎 (I didn’t get to see footage of a time when guitarist Jamie Revere was performing this song with the rest of the guys on stage; it would’ve been even cooler with one more Raider there. 🙂 ) I appreciate the continual honor and respect that the Raiders have for our military, which they continue here with a tribute to them with a salute of respect at the finish of the song. 😎 It’s a great blessing and comfort to know that even if you aren’t able to be in the company of your family during holiday time – Chanukah, Christmas or any other holiday – you are together in heart and thought. ❤ ❤
In 2014 Kendall Schmidt (of Heffron Drive and Big Time Rush) wrote and recorded a new timeless Christmastime song, “Blame It On the Mistletoe”, releasing it as a solo single. It has a supercool, catchy, always-sounds-great rock’n’roll sound – complete with “shoop-shoop, shoop-de-doop”. 😎 🙂 Besides the drums, guitars and keys, excellent use was also made of ringing bells and sleigh bells. Kendall sings about his desire to break the ice, get the girl to go out skating or dancing with him, but it hasn’t worked out – yet. 😉 He keeps trying to figure out how to let her know what she means to him. 🙂 The chorus swings in at 51 seconds with some supercool drum beats. He tells about the mistletoe – symbolic for kissing – is hanging right above them, so why not pause from talking and just kiss…while they can “blame it on the mistletoe”? 🙂 Smart boy. 😉 At 1:16 is one of my favorite parts, where the note’s melodically carried at the end of “mistletoe” – excellent! 🙂 😎 Nice echoing effect of “mistletoe” from the chorus to the next verse, too. 🙂 The lyrics continue to be cool, poetic and witty as he tells her he’s been writing her carols since the fourth of July. 🙂 Kendall brings the volume down just right as he sings the chorus then jumps right back into the enthusiastic, upbeat vocals. 😎 When Heffron Drive (Dustin Belt and Kendall Schmidt’s music group 😎 ) performed it in concert the following year, they included a cool saxophonist on stage – who, after playing great throughout the song, played a supercool solo near the end. 😎 The lively tune sounded great live with Dustin and Kendall’s guitars, along with other music artists on drums, keys, bass and the sax. 😎 The drummer started it off in style with the rest soon joining in. Kendall focused on singing the song brilliantly as Dustin’s smile lit up the room. 😎 They were all having a good, fun time and that always makes it extra fun and enjoyable for the audience as well. 😎 Dustin’s energetic performance slowed down perfectly to a gentle strumming with less than a minute to the finish, conveying the tenderness in his own excellence of pure style. 😎 Awesomely cool. 😎
James Maslow gave us all an early Chanukah & Christmas gift! 🙂 A new song especially for the holidays season, “Christmas Beautiful”, is worded and sung by James with poetic beauty. 🙂 😎 This cozy, romantic song is well-titled, making good use of the good feelings that are often associated with Christmas: love, happiness, light, cheer, joy, celebration, loved ones near. 🙂 These words also apply to Chanukah, which celebrates the miracle of the Creator making one day’s amount of oil (for the Temple light after Israel won against the invading foe, cleaned up the desecrated-by-the-enemy Temple and rededicated it to the Creator – the lamp was to burn continuously and He made it so) last for eight (the amount of time needed for more of the required oil to be made and purified). 😎 Celebrating the miracle of oil for the Temple and the miracle of the Light (Yeshua/Jesus) makes it a joyous season in heart and soul. 😎 🙂 James poetically brought that beauty into a phrase “Christmas Beautiful” that shines brightly. 😎 His vocals are really the only music needed for this song, even though there’s other music joining in. He sings of the nice California weather outside, but that he would rather be inside cuddled close to his girl. 🙂 It’s his favorite time of the year, made better with her here by his side. She’s Christmas beautiful. 🙂 That would mean that not only is she beautiful to him in appearance, but also beautiful in her heart. 🙂 The holidays are known for warmth and love; true beauty comes from the inside and shines forth from the eyes. In the next verse, James paints another tropical beach scene then points out what’s better: it being cold outside, but warm inside. Thus he invites her to come in and enjoy the coziness of the holidays together with him. And he hopes it snows all night. Yes, a cozy evening cuddled close on the sofa in front of the fireplace is a beautiful scene that neither would want to end. 🙂 Thank you for the song gift, James! 🙂 I hope you have a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂 😎
This next song, “Wintery Nights” by Allison Medina, was brought to my attention by my friend Ron Foos (Paul Revere’s Raiders), who co-wrote the song. 🙂 😎 He kindly shared it with me pre-release and I’ve been looking forward to including it in my holiday music collection review this year. 🙂 The opening sound of shimmering notes brings to mind the sparkling light reflected in the snowflakes of wintertime. 🙂 Gentle “ooo’s” in the background join together with a relaxed beat, setting the pace for the song. I love the touch of reggae beat that enters the song along with Allison Medina’s unique voice as she begins to sing – mentioning that snow we heard at the top of the song. 😉 😎 She sings the story of looking forward to husband and wife holding each other tight on this cold, wintry night. The chorus swings in at 46 seconds, where she sings that “wintery nights won’t get me down” – now that he will soon be back in town. 🙂 The next verse tells of the cozy setting; a crackling fire in the fireplace and the kisses that mistletoe traditionally represents is a great combination. 🙂 After the second chorus, an instrumental break leads into the third verse – and more romance. 2:43 is one of the prettiest parts of the song – a gentle melody sung so well in excellent tone and with tender heart by Allison. 😎 (The backing “ooo’s” are brought back in perfectly, too. 😎 ) She does a beautiful job of singing that spending your favorite time of year with the one you love most dear is precious. The song closes with her tenderly singing of how he’s riding on his sleigh through the sleet and snow to get back home to her. Love. 🙂 😎
When I hear “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” sung by Elvis Presley, it’s a blessing and a comfort to me. I have always loved listening to his Christmas album; his voice is so warm and reassuring as he sings these melodies. This particular song begins with a piano note; ladies prettily singing a snow-falling series of “oo-oo-oo-oo-ooo’s” follows then Elvis starts the verse. 😎 He sings that he will be home for Christmas, to plan on him being there. He asks for snow and mistletoe. 🙂 He tells how Christmas Eve will find him where the love light gleams. He reiterates that he will be home for Christmas – even if it’s only in his dreams. Being with loved ones is natural for celebrations; it makes it all the merrier. 🙂 However, sometimes loved ones are in various locations and are unable to meet up in one place at the same time on a specific date. But that shouldn’t keep the joy of celebration from happening in our hearts; we can be together in heart wherever we are. 🙂 I know it’s not exactly the same, but it counts and is important to remember. 😎 If you are joined in heart, you are together. If you have no loved ones to celebrate with you can still celebrate. If you believe on the Creator, you are never truly alone. 😎 You can talk to Him; He listens and cares. Most likely, you can find happiness in helping others; it’s an awesome feeling that adds yet more joy to any celebratory occasion, be it Chanukah, Christmas, New Year’s, et cetera. 🙂 Back to the song now… The way Elvis sings so gently, deepening his notes and carrying them in his own style all at the right moments makes this an extra-special version of the song with continuous recognition as the top recording. The male and female chorus finishes out the song, along with the other instruments, with the heartfelt words, “I’ll be home for Christmas!”
John McDermott, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan – The Irish Tenors – sang “The Holy City” poignantly beautifully on their 1999 album, “Home for Christmas”. 🙂 This four minute, fifty-four second studio recording begins with a majestic orchestral opening (played expertly by a seventy-eight piece orchestra) then quiets as the singing begins. John sings the lyrics about a wonderful dream one night. 😎 “I stood in old Jerusalem beside the Temple there.” 😎 He heard the voices of children singing, then he heard what seemed to be the voices of angels. The instruments begin to build up majestically around fifty-three seconds into the song as the chorus, the words of the angels in the dream, is sung out by all three tenors. 😎 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your heads and sing! Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to the King!” Anthony brings in the second verse, which tells about a change in the dream. Now all was silent, no gladness of singing, a darkness reigned over the land, when Yeshua/Jesus, died on the cross to pay for everyone’s sins so we wouldn’t have to. Now all we need to do is accept His gift of forgiveness and trust Him to save us. 🙂 The joyful chorus begins, because now there’s singing again! 🙂 😎 The third verse, sung by Ronan, tells of another scene change in the dream. The Holy City, New Jerusalem, from Heaven above, is seen. 😎 You can read about it in the Scriptures, in Revelation (the King James Version is the clearest English translation from the original language). The streets are paved with gold. His Light is the only illumination needed – no sun or moon necessary. 😎 The gates are open wide in invitation to all who would like to enter; all you need to do is believe in Yeshua/Jesus, what He did for you, ask Him to forgive and save you – and He will. That’s why He came to Earth. To rescue you. Because He loves you.
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