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Various Artists

A Skaggs Family Christmas – 2005 (Skaggs Family)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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Ricky Skaggs, his wife Sharon White and their kids sounded so good singing Christmas carols together in their family room that took their show on the road in 2003 and ultimately recorded this CD. Sharon's father, Buck of The Whites' fame, sister, Cheryl, and niece round out this family affair.

Skaggs opens with "Let It Snow." Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder also turn in a beautiful instrumental take on "Deck the Halls," in which mandolin, fiddle and even penny whistle and accordion trade off taking the lead. "The Christmas Guest," a recitation, is the tedious nadir of the album. They end strong, though, closing with "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Rachel White's soprano is the perfect vehicle to capture the wonder felt by the characters in the song as they spread the word of Jesus' birth. White, in fact, is the surprise star on this album, gracing "What Child Is This" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with her sweet voice.

This album - a second volume is due next year - isn't perfect, but it's very, very good.