Caroling with the Stars

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What would the holiday season be like without a winter wonderland of new Christmas albums to choose from? For your listening pleasure, we've highlighted some of this year's best and brightest (and a few oldies but goodies), by some of today's hottest artists--Sarah McLachlan, Brad Paisley, Mary Mary, Third Day, and many others. Whether you like gospel, pop, rock, swing, classical, R&B, techno, country, jazz, or Celtic music, these albums offer something for everyone. So grab a hot drink, recline in your desk chair, and give your ears a treat with this sampling of Yuletide melodies.

Sarah McLachlan
Brad Paisley
Mary Mary
Twisted Sister
Third Day
Alan Jackson
David Klinkenberg
Rebecca St. James
Israel & New Breed
Hillsong
Annie Moses Band
NewSong
Wayburn Dean
David Crowder
Celtic Woman
Phil Keaggy
Kelly Sweet
Moya Brennan
More music on page 2 »

Sarah McLachlan
Wintersong
In the style of all of her albums, Sarah McLachlan's "Wintersong" is raw, passionate, and dripping with emotion. Her sweet voice on John Lennon and Yoko Ono's ever-relevant "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" immediately draws you in and keeps you there. Her moving cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" stands out among the many other artists who've covered the song.

'River'
Buy
'Wintersong'
Brad Paisley
A Brad Paisley Christmas
On "A Brad Paisley Christmas" the popular country crooner pays homage to traditional spiritual carols like "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger," and also to the fun, light-hearted side of the holiday, with "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy." His version of the romantic classic "I'll Be Home for Christmas" will melt your heart.

'I'll Be Home for Christmas'
Buy 'A Brad
Paisley Christmas'
Mary Mary
Mary Mary Christmas
Sisters Erica and Tina Campbell of the Grammy Award-winning gospel duo Mary Mary lend their heavenly voices to traditional and contemporary holiday tunes--as well as six new originals, such as "Call Him Jesus," "Still the Lamb," and "California Christmas," on the cutely titled "A Mary Mary Christmas."

'Merry Little Christmas'
Buy
'Mary Mary Christmas'
Twisted Sister
Twisted Christmas
Legendary heavy metal band Twisted Sister puts a new "twist" on Christmas favorites with their new album, "A Twisted Christmas," which includes classics like "Deck the Halls" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." Singer Dee Snyder even does a Christmasy cool duet with rocker chick Lita Ford.

'O Come Ye Faithful'
Buy
'A Twisted Christmas'
Third Day
Christmas Offerings
Popular Christian rockers Third Day shine on their holiday project, "Christmas Offerings." The Grammy Award-winning band brings a unique southern-rock style to familiar carols, and recorded new holiday songs original to the band, with "Born in Bethlehem" and "Christmas Like a Child," which is about celebrating the real joy of Christmas--Jesus.

'Born in Bethlehem'
Buy
'Christmas Offerings'
Alan Jackson
Let It Be Christmas
Country star Alan Jackson is known for his ability to put out albums appealing both in the mainstream and in Christian circuits. His 2002 holiday project "Let it Be Christmas" brings a big band and a down-home country feel to well-known carols (the title song is the only original), making it a truly unique addition to your Christmas album collection.

'Let It Be Christmas'
Buy
'Let It Be Christmas'
David Klinkenberg
The Carol of Emmanuel
Virtuoso violinist David Klinkenberg's Christmas album, "The Carol of Emmanuel," blends American and European folk fiddle styles. Accompanied by popular pianist Jim Brickman, with whom Klinkenberg is currently on a Christmas tour, he offers fiddle renditions of "What Child Is This?" and "The Carol of Emmanuel," among others.

'The Carol of Emmanuel'
Buy
'The Carol of Emmanuel'
Israel and New Breed
A Timeless Christmas
Grammy Award nominees Israel and New Breed, led by Houston-based pastor and music minister Israel Houghton, offer upbeat, jazzy-classical renditions of traditional and contemporary carols, like "O Come All Ye Faithful," plus originals, on "A Timeless Christmas." Gospel greats CeCe and Marvin Winans guest star.

'Everbody Knows'
Buy
'A Timeless Christmas'
Rebecca St. James
Christmas
Currently on a Christmas tour with Backstreet Boy/gospel singer Brian Littrell, Christian music superstar Rebecca St. James brings an upbeat alternative rock feel to traditional carols with her 1997 holiday release, appropriately titled "Christmas." In 2005 she released "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" on iTunes. You haven't really experienced "O Holy Night" until you've heard her pop-techno version.

'O Holy Night'




'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'
Buy 'Christmas'
Hillsong
Celebrating Christmas
Straight from Hillsong Church near Castle Hill, Australia, this church band, under the leadership of worship pastor Darlene Zschech, has become internationally known for their music ministry. Their latest holiday album, "Celebrating Christmas," features a number of singers and musicians, with a variety of musical styles--from pop to big band.

'Angels We Have Heard on High'



'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
Buy
'Celebrating Christmas'
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Quiz: Here We Come A-Caroling
Test your knowledge of origins and contemporary renditions of Christmas carols with our quiz.


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