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Sawyer Brown

Hallelujah, He Is Born – 1997 (Curb)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Sawyer Brown

It's so hard to write new Christmas songs that measure up to the decades-and centuries-old classics that most artists are better off just singing the standards than trying to write anything new. Not Sawyer Brown, though. Mark Miller, Hobie Hubbard, and frequent collaborator Mac McAnally showed true inspiration when they wrote the nine new songs here.

The album's centerpiece is "Oh What a Night in Bethlehem," a quiet, impassioned rock song about Jesus's birth while "Glory to the King" and "Little Town of Bethlehem," with new music by Hubbard, are joyful, upbeat gospel/rock songs. "Christmas All Year Long" perfectly captures the joy of the holiday season, when people take the time to smile and treat each other right. "Where Christmas Goes" is reminiscent of "The Walk" as a father answers his children's questions about Christmas as he looks back at his own youth. "Sweet Mary Cried" is a powerful ballad about the life of Jesus through his mother's eyes. This is not only the best Christmas album of the year, but the best album Sawyer Brown has ever released.