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Restless Heart

A Restless Heart Christmas – 2013 (Red River)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Restless Heart

Getting the mixture right for a Christmas album seems easy. Just put together a few new songs with a healthy helping of standbys, and you've got it, right? But it's surprising how often musical artists get this simple mix wrong. Such is not the case with Restless Heart's A Restless Heart Christmas, however. Listening to this fine 10-track release makes one wonder why so many artists just don't get it, however.

Appropriately, the album opens with a new one titled Season of Harmony (a new recording of a song previously put on a label Christmas sampler) because Restless Heart is one act that always sings so beautifully with plenty of great group harmonies. The band puts these pipe chops to the ultimate test with an a capella version of Silent Night, which is doggone good. This is, after all, a song about evening's quiet, so why not sing it without a lot of other noisy instrumentation?

Although Silent Night is re-imagined significantly, this is not really an overly innovative album. Instead, the group takes songs and does 'em Restless Heart style by playing to the band's musical strengths. For instance, Angels We Have Heard on High chimes to a country jingle-jangle sound that suits Restless Heart perfectly.

In the end, you're left with the impression Restless Heart put a lot of thought and skill into creating "A Restless Heart Christmas." This is not just another Christmas album; it's a Restless Heart-ized release. The result is both an inspired and comforting holiday recording.