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Billy Gilman

Classic Christmas – 2000 (Epic)

Reviewed by Tom Netherland

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CDs by Billy Gilman

Weren't the Chipmunks canceled some years ago? Okay. Okay...Billy Gilman isn't a Chipmunk. And he isn't a cartoon character, but danged if he can't sing. Take the first of 12 tracks, "White Christmas." While true he sounds more like a girl, Gilman's voice carries uncommonly strong for his 12 years.

Similarly, "Warm & Fuzzy." Yet, if not for the 1940's - like arrangement, the song may well have sounded a bit silly. Even for Gilman. Still, with classic Christmas renditions (i.e. horns and strings, background choruses and such) of "Winter Wonderland" and Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song," Gilman's album isn't so much country as it is top-flight holiday fare, an album that may cross through the years to come with an annual flair for sales and airplay. Despite a few missteps like "There's a New Kid in Town," well-chosen material like "Away in a Manger" carries Gilman's initial holiday offering off on a pleasant, scene-stealing sleigh ride. Holly jolly jinglin' all the way.