If all you know about Mitchell Tenpenny is "Alcohol You Later," you may be unprepared for a few of the Christmas present surprises on his "Neon Christmas" EP. Granted, "Snow Angels" is a little too pop for its own good. However, the acoustic guitar-picked subtlety of "O Holy Night" is truly sweet, while the steel guitar-soaked "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" is the exact right winter setting for Tenpenny's vocal vibrato. Tenpenny has, indeed, given us his best this Christmas.
The title track is winning pop-rocker. Its lyric reminds us that it's not about where we celebrate Christmas, but with whom we spend the holiday. Tenpenny's version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," with its jazzy/soulful organ accompaniment, puts a whole new spin on this familiar holiday number. Tenpenny sounds sincerely joyful while giving "Joy to the World" a somewhat bouncy groove. Tenpenny closes his release with "Naughty List," which has fun with the whole 'naughty or nice' Christmas list, for something both Christmas-y and sexy.
Now, if Tenpenny puts more of this inventiveness into his non-holiday music, we'll be merry all the year round.