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It seems like almost every successful musical artist– Christian or not–feels an obligation to record Christmas music at some point and I often wonder why. I mean, how many different ways can you remake “Silent Night,” right? But then I come across a Christmas CD like Casting Crowns new release “Peace on Earth” and my “Bah, humbug” spirit goes away. It has some truly fresh covers of Christmas classics as well as some new worship songs that just might become the Christmas classics of the future.


As in all of Casting Crowns previous efforts, Mark Hall’s vocals shine against a backdrop of music that is alternatively brooding yet energetic. “Peace on Earth” does justice to such Christmas standards as “Joy to the World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” but the groups arrangements of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and their covers of the little-heard-of “God is With Us” and “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” are especially refreshing.The band also does a clever little twist on one of their earlier songs “While You were Sleeping” and gives it an extra holiday touch.
But since Casting Crowns is best known for their worship songs, the highlight of “Peace on Earth” has to be their original song “Christmas Offering.” It’s a beautiful, yet simple prayer to focus anew on the birth of Jesus. Undoubtedly, this song will become a Christmas hymn staple in churches for future Christmases, even if some grinches/music critics are calling it a bit derivative.
If you don’t want to rush out and buy it because you aren’t in the Christmas spirit just yet, well, you could still try to win a copy right here at Idol Chatter by entering our Casting Crowns giveaway.

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