With Ryder's powerhouse vocals and a cast of stalwart players, this is a holiday must for Christmas music fans. Produced and arranged by the esteemed Bob Ezrin, it sounds super, and Ryder makes sure it's fun too, enthusing it with lots of her personality. There aren't too many surprises in the choices, with the usual fare including Jingle Bell Rock, White Christmas, Let It Snow and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, but it's great hearing them via Ryder's distinctive pipes.
The arrangements also stand out, with lots of room for excellent work from the A-list ensemble. Most notably, the players include jazz guitarist Rob Piltch, who shines throughout, especially on Santa Baby, and veteran Nashville keyboard whiz John Barlow Jarvis (James Taylor, Vince Gill), who knows just where to go on these classics. Ryder contributes a nice new tune, the lighthearted Christmas Kisses, and seems like she was born to sing these favourites for us.
Serena Ryder has some East Coast dates coming up in December, so I imagine she'll have some of these ready for the shows:
Wednesday/Thursday, Dec. 5-6 - Casino NS, Halifax
Friday, Dec. 7 - Confederation Centre of the Arts, CharlottetownSaturday, Dec. 8 - Tide and Boar, Moncton