Release Date: November 16th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day
- Snow Medley: White Christmas / Let It Snow / Winter Wonderland
- Christmas Hallelujah
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas / There’s No Place Like (Home For The Holidays)
- O Holy Night / Silent Night
- Family Tree
- Christmas Shoes
- What Child Is This / O Come Emmanuel
- This Christmas / Last Christmas
By now you would have probably known who Anthem Lights is by now. If you haven’t, then I guess you ought to read our reviews on the band (on this one page here!)- but for those of you who can’t be bothered clicking on another link, let me just say that the quartet, comprising of Spencer Kane, Joey Stamper, Chad Graham and Caleb Grimm, have recorded plenty of stellar original songs and worthy cover melodies and medleys as well. Each of the four members have also tried their hand at solo material- and that is what I find most impressive of all- that they’re four guys who first and foremost are part of a group, but each of them has their own individual sound as well, and they each aren’t afraid to let the whole world know. And though I myself prefer these guys singing together as Anthem Lights, I reckon right now is the right time for me to talk about one of these members, and the album that released this past week.
One such member is Caleb Grimm, one of the four founders of the group (both Allan Powell and Kyle Kupecky were founding members also, before departing a few years ago for various reasons!), and recently he and his wife Kelsey (under the moniker Caleb + Kelsey) unveiled their Christmas album Christmas Together. Now the duo, whom I haven’t really followed that avidly at all, are known for their pop medleys and their worship medleys (one look at Spotify and/or iTunes should give you some indication of what these guys are all about musically!); yet the album in question that I’m about to quickly gloss over (and I mean quickly!) is the Christmas project Christmas Together.
Now I know what you’re all thinking- why review another Christmas album? I mean, if you take a look at the Christmas albums that we’ve reviewed this year, last year and the year before, then I guess you could say that what we are presented with is probably holiday albums that more or less sound similar- and why would any of us want to read reviews of the same carols we’ve heard before? Well first things first, let me tell you all that despite the only instrument being the heartfelt and inspiring keyboard, both Caleb and Kelsey’s vocals are so on point, and their harmonies working well together very flawlessly, that in some respect, it doesn’t matter what they’re singing, nor if these carols are what we’ve all been presented with by other artists this year and years gone by. What matters is that Caleb and Kelsey are praising God and worshipping Jesus through song. The Holy Spirit is moving, and despite the lack of instruments, I can firmly say that this release is one of my favourite Christmas albums of the year. The 9 songs don’t sound cliché, nor do they drag (though that is my opinion, and not yours, and that’s fine!)- and at times I’m even teary and emotional, particularly in the tracks “Christmas Hallelujah” (originally by Leonard Cohen, but this version by Cloverton!), “Christmas Shoes” (originally by Newsong) and “Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day” (originally by Celine Dion). Though I could write an essay length assessment on each of the songs (I could but what would be the point?), what I’ll do instead is to point you to the album, as well as the music videos as well- and I hope and pray that Caleb and Kelsey draw you closer to Jesus this Christmas!
Sky’s the limit for Anthem Lights, and for each of the individual members. What does that mean for Caleb + Kelsey? Well first of all, I reckon albums will continue, and as long as these guys are enjoying themselves, they will continue for a long time yet. There is still time until Christmas (5 weeks away at this point in time), so if in your opinion this album doesn’t resonate with you now, I’d say give it time, and maybe a listen on your favourite digital streaming device later on. Because I reckon these 9 songs are too good not to listen to this Christmas. From the original melody “Family Tree” to the three tear-jerkers “Christmas Hallelujah”, “Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day” and “Christmas Shoes”, not to mention the few medleys present here; there’s something for everyone on this varied project. So what are you waiting for? We’re in the Christmas season and it’s definitely time to be festive! Take a listen, you won’t be disappointed!
3 songs to listen to: Christmas Hallelujah, Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day, Christmas Shoes
RIYL: Avalon, FFH, Anthem Lights, Cimorelli, ZOEgirl, Newsong