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Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks & the Magic of Christmas – 1999 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Garth Brooks

Earlier this year, Garth Brooks began an odd experiment by releasing a pop-rock album as alter-ego Chris Gaines. The opinion of country fans was largely something to the effect of, "He should stick to country." Well, it's Christmas time now, and he's at least sticking to his own personality, if not to country.

Brooks' second Christmas album finds him performing 12 holiday classics and 2 new songs in the tradition of big-band crooners like Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme. He rips into "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with obvious joy and excitement in his voice. Other classics include "Let It Snow" and "Sleigh Ride." One new song, "Baby Jesus Is Born," is an energetic gospel song that suits Brooks surprisingly well. Brooks is an artist who doesn't have the patience to sit still, who isn't content to find his niche and stay in it over the course of his career. This antsiness sometimes steers him wrong, as the Chris Gaines experiment attests, but in this case, he's done well.