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Various Artists

Christmas Angels – 2005 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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This is an album of 10 Christmas songs by female singers - an odd amalgamation generally of unknowns and artists who previously enjoyed a higher profile.

Jennifer Hanson's voice is too thin to carry "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Ditto for Bethany Dillon on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," although the jazzy production, featuring Byron House's standup bass and Jerry Douglas's Dobro, is almost enough to carry the song. Deana Carter's "Boogie Woogie Santa" comes from the 2000 film "Casper's Haunted Christmas" and really didn't need to be reprised. Alison Krauss is the biggest star here, contributing "Shimmy Down the Chimney," originally appearing on another Capitol compilation album of the same name last year. It's a sultry romantic song, but the generic synthesized production detracts from Krauss' fine vocal performance.

Jamie O'Neal turns in a solid performance on "O Holy Night," and Suzy Bogguss' "Two-Step 'Round the Christmas Tree" is a perennial favorite. Contemporary Christian artist Nichole Nordeman adds a unique upbeat rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear," backed only by a finger-picked guitar for the opening verse.

But the highlights here are too few to redeem a mostly lackluster compilation.