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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 21, 2007

From traditional to twisted, there's holiday music for all

By Donna Isbell Walker
Gannett News Service

With selections that range from Amy Gilliom's "A Hawaiian Christmas," Na Leo Pilimehana's "Hawaiian Holidays" and the "Slack Key Christmas" compilation to "The Holiday Tribute to Metallica," the choice of Christmas CDs this year runs a wide gamut.

Each year brings a stocking full of new holiday music. Some CDs become classics and sell like hotcakes every year, including Christmas discs by Mariah Carey and Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Here's a look at some of the new discs for this holiday season, and a few of last year's favorites:

  • Josh Groban, "Noel." The classically influenced pop singer's new disc is "one of the biggest this year," Walker says. It features a baker's dozen of traditional and 20th-century holiday songs, including "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

  • Mannheim Steamroller, "Christmas Song." The instrumental band's CD includes tunes like "Feliz Navidad" and "Catching Snowflakes on Your Tongue."

  • "Oh Santa! New and Used Holiday Classics." This compilation CD features Christmas tunes with titles like "Your Christmas Whiskey" and "Holiday Twist," done by such artists as Los Straitjackets and The Apples in Stereo.

  • Bootsy Collins, "Christmas is 4Ever." The funkmeister's album actually came out last year, and it features Collins' inimitable takes on such songs as "Silent Night," as well as his retooled holiday tunes.

  • Twisted Sister, "A Twisted Christmas." The hair-intensive metal band put out an album of holiday favorites last year, with classics like "White Christmas" and a hard-hitting version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" called "Heavy Metal Christmas."

  • Mindy Smith, "My Holiday." The Americana singer-songwriter's Christmas album blends hymns and secular songs, including "Silver Bells" and "Away in a Manger."

  • Mississippi Mass Choir, "We Have Seen His Star." The gospel choir performs 14 songs, all of them live versions, including "O Holy Night" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain."

  • Luther Barnes, "Christmas With Luther Barnes." Gospel singer Barnes offers up 10 holiday tunes, including "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Hallelujah to the Lamb."

  • Aimee Mann, "One More Drifter in the Snow." The alt-pop singer released her holiday album in 2006, featuring songs such as "White Christmas" and "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

  • Wreck the Halls holiday tributes. You might not think of Metallica, AC/DC and Green Day songs as holiday favorites, but the Christmas Rock Records label has put out Christmas-instrumental versions of all three bands' music. Imagine Metallica's "Master of Puppets" or Green Day's "When I Come Around," redone as festive holiday ditties.

  • Taylor Swift, "The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection." Young country-pop singer Swift, who's up for a best new artist Grammy in February, releases a six-song EP, with such selections as "Santa Baby" and "Silent Night."

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