Release Date: October 29th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Tasha Layton– This Is Christmas EP (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Diddly Squat
- Giving Christmas Away
- O Holy Night
- This Is Christmas
- Make It To Christmastime
- Comfort And Joy
Way back at the end of 2018 (so just around about 3 years ago now!), BEC Recordings signed worship leader Tasha Layton – the latest artist in what seemed to be a signing spree. Matty Mullins, Stephen Christian, Jorge, Aaron Bucks, River Valley Worship and London Gatch were all presented a spot on the label in 2017 (some are still present on the label, some are not!), while Brian Ortize, Free Worship and Battledrums were signed to BEC Recordings in 2018. Yet this doesn’t mean Tasha was added to the roster just to make up numbers nor for the sake of it. Rather, with Tasha’s debut EP Love Running Wild scoring a 5/5 rating, and me enjoying her brand of worship-pop music very much; let me just inform you all, that Tasha’s joy and effervescent love for Jesus has shined through on very song she has released. With Tasha’s vocals being simply extremely powerful and strong, moreso than any other debut artist over the past few years in my opinion; Tasha unveiled Into The Sea not too long ago, an EP that I also reviewed, and a release that further confirmed my assertions of Tasha being one of todays most inspiring worship leaders.
The release of “Look What You’ve Done”, a brand new inspirational single, further reminds us of Tasha’s staying power and songwriting prowess- in a CCM industry that needs revamping, Tasha’s worship melodies are a breath of fresh air, as I am continually in wonder of a God who loves me unconditionally and calls me to be in relationship with Him! Now… here we are in December 2021, and Tasha has forged ahead yet again, with her debut Christmas EP This Is Christmas. It’s a tad frustrating when we haven’t heard a debut full length album from a burgeoning young artist- an artist like Tasha. But hey, if EP’s are the way to go now, and if Tasha keeps releasing EP’s to the calibre of what she has done in the past… well then, I definitely won’t be complaining at all. With the holiday release consisting of 6 tracks, similar to We The Kingdom’s A Family Christmas in terms of original songs v carols… the result is a vibrant, encouraging, moving, hopeful, honest and thought-provoking set of songs this Christmas; as we sing together and stay close to family this Christmas.
With the Omicron variant now in full force, Christmas and celebrating with family now seems to be key in keeping us all safe and sane. Tasha reminds us of fun, joy and family in the EP opener- the jazz inspired “Diddly Squat”. A fun-filled track that is directed at a ‘naughty’ kid, with Tasha joyously relaying that the child in question isn’t receiving anything for Christmas because they weren’t good or nice; the original melody, which is a holiday song as opposed to a worshipful one, reminds us to be nice and kind to our friends and family this holiday season. “Giving Christmas Away”, similar in theme to Matthew West’s “Give This Christmas Away”, is an 80’s throwback musically, with the original melody highlighting that Tasha longs to give back to people less fortunate than her during the holidays, that ‘…I’m giving hope, I’m giving peace, wanna share the joy the holidays can bring, I’m giving love, I’ll start today, every chance is a chance I’ll take I’m giving Christmas away…’; while Tasha’s heavenly and pristine cover of “O Holy Night” is one of my favourite renditions of the carols since Lincoln Brewster version way back in 2012.
The title track “This is Christmas”, yet another original, is a stirring, worshipful, heart-warming melody that vividly and extensively tells the Christmas story (by far my favourite track on the album!), and is as worshipful as ever with Tasha eloquently and ardently crying out ‘…praise the King, the Lord of Lords, He shall reign forevermore, long awaited Christ our Savior, Hallelujah, this is Christmas…’; while the piano led reflective ballad “Make It To Christmastime” earnestly delves into Tasha’s love for her family and her love for the holiday season, that ‘…[I] can’t wait for the 24th, finally walking through that door, fall into the arms of those that I adore, all the madness, all the miles melt into sweetest smiles, those moments make it all worth while…’. This Is Christmas then ends with the inspiring, comforting and healing original ballad “Comfort And Joy”. A track that provides us all reassurance that Jesus is King, is Lord over all of our lives, and loves each one of us deeply, this melody inspires us to trust in Jesus and tell others about Him and His love for all of us.
Over the past few years, many new or new-ish artists have released many songs and albums. Artists like Austin French, Riley Clemmons, Aaron Cole, Ava Max, The Young Escape, Lindsay Ell, Gabby Barrett, Koryn Hawthorne, Southbound, Peabod, Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, Caylee Hammack, Dove Cameron, Aaron Bucks, Pat Barret, London Gatch, Sofia Carson, MDSN, Brandon Lake, Chris Rezema, Lydia Laird, We The Kingdom and Mack Brock; have all released inspiring, powerful and thought-provoking material. Tasha Layton’s latest EP (and entire discography) stands tall amongst the rest of these melodies and projects, as she continues on in her mission to make Jesus’ name famous, and to point people to Him. Though we don’t know for sure when Tasha’s full length debut album will release (as in a 10-or-more song project… and not just a series of EP’s!), we can still jam out to this holiday release until such a time when an album does surface. And let me tell you, until that time, I will keep on listening to Tasha’s melodies, and tell people of Tasha’s thoroughly engaging and inspiring tracks. Well done Tasha, can’t wait for you to release your full-length album and bless us all with more songs! Fans of Hannah Kerr, Natalie Grant, Kari Jobe, Sarah Reeves and Mia Fieldes will love Tasha Layton!
3 songs to listen to: Giving Christmas Away, This Is Christmas, Comfort And Joy
RIYL: Caitie Hurst, Natalie Grant, Hannah Kerr, Sarah Reeves, Mia Fieldes, Britt Nicole, Ellie Holcomb