Mini-Review: Peter Hollens – A Hollens Family Christmas Deluxe

Peter Hollens

A Hollens Family Christmas Deluxe

Label: One Voice Productions

Release Date: November 3rd 2017 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Little Drummer Boy (feat. Mike Tompkins)
  2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  3. December Song
  4. Believe (feat. One Voice Children’s Choir)
  5. Carol Of The Bells
  6. Grown Up Christmas List (feat. Evynne Hollens)
  7. Mary, Did You Know?
  8. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) [feat. Jackie Evancho]
  9. What Child Is This?
  10. Amazing Grace (feat. Home Free)
  11. December Song [Bonus Track] [A Capella]
  12. The Christmas Song
  13. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (feat. Tony Glausi)
  14. O Holy Night (feat. Jamie Grace)
  15. How Great Thou Art (feat. The All-American Boys Chorus)
  16. Angels From the Realms of Glory (feat. The Piano Guys, David Archuleta & the Mormon Tabernacle Choir)
  17. Silent Night (feat. Mario Jose)

Initial thoughts: Loads of guest artists, yet plenty of passion and heart. Peter Hollens is a vocal genius, probably second in acapella ability to Pentatonix- and he shines vocally on every track. Every track of the 17 tracks is a standout, especially the Josh Groban penned “Believe” and the original “December Song” (both instrumental and acapella versions)

Reason to listen: It’s an acapella Christmas album! Need I say any more? There’s moments of worship (“Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, even “Little Drummer Boy”) and of introspection and reflection (“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”) as well as well known season and holiday favourites (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “Grown Up Christmas List”, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”)

Reason to buy: Peter Hollens isn’t a well-known household name- so any chance to buy this album will 100% be worth it. He’s an amazing vocalist, plus it’s a rare item! Also… 17 tracks, that’s pretty impressive!

Reason to skip: Maybe too many guest vocalists meaning Peter may not have enough time to shine as a vocalist. However apart from that, there’s literally no reason unless you hate acapella. Which should be no one in the whole wide world!

No. of carols: 12 (including the two hymns “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art”)

No. of originals: 5 (including 2 versions of “December Song” and 3 covers from Josh Groban, Amy Grant, and John Lennon)

No of guest artists: 10 (Mike Tompkins on track #1, One Voice Children’s Choir on track #2, Evynne Hollens on track #6, Jackie Evancho on track #8, Home Free on track #10, Tony Glausi on track #13, Jamie Grace on track #14, The All-American Boys Chorus on track #15, The Piano Guys, David Archuleta & the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on track #16, and Mario Jose on track #17)

Does it have heart?: Aplenty. Just try listening to “Grown Up Christmas List”, “Believe”, “Amazing Grace” and “December Song” without tearing up. Go on, I dare you! Can’t do it can you?

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: Probably one of the most Christmas-y albums I’ve heard aside from all of Michael W. Smith’s Christmas albums. There’s definitely plenty of children’s choirs here to move us into the Christmas and holiday spirit

Uniqueness?: It’s an acapella Christmas album! Doesn’t get much unique than that, don’t you think?

Christmas message: There’s some worshipful and Christ-centred tracks on this album, as well as a few seasonal and holiday favourites. There’s a couple of hymns as well. Intensity and passion are present also. There is a Christmas message there. But with Peter’s faith being possibly covert at best…I’m not sure if the album is Peter singing Christmas songs and somewhat praising God, or singing Christmas songs and fully praising God. I get the sense (and I may be wrong) that Peter’s enthusiasm for the ‘holiday’ songs are just a teeny bit more evident than in the other tracks!

Closing thoughts: Enthusiasm and whether Peter means what he sings in the worship songs aside; this album is perfect for lovers of music. Yes, you read that right- lovers of all music! Enough said!

3 songs to listen to: December Song, Believe, Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Overall rating: 5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: Do whatever it takes to obtain a physical or digital copy of this album. I mean it. It’s a life and death situation here, and your life depends on hearing this brilliant and flawless masterpiece! So go to all the extreme lengths you can! But yeah, you don’t want to fly to the States and find this album in the midst of COVID-19 though so… I guess Spotify will have to do. But after the pandemic has settled down- find a physical copy of A Hollens Family Christmas Deluxe. That should be the first thing you do! Well aside from telling you parents and loved ones that you love them!

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