Becky Buller and Dark Shadow Recording have presented us with a delightfully fresh and new all-star Christmas record.
CD: The Perfect Gift
Artist: Becky Buller
Label: Dark Shadow Recording
Artist Website: beckybuller.com
Label Website: darkshadowrecording.com
The Perfect Gift comes just in time for Christmas. There's lots of Christmas music. Some of it is classic and timeless. Some of it is tired and shopworn, like the
baleful uh-woo-woo-woo-woos of “I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You.” I've heard enough uh-woo-woo-woo-woos in one lifetime. You on the other hand may have yet to get your fill.
Becky Buller and Dark Shadow Recording have presented us with a delightfully fresh and new all-star Christmas record. Nearly every song is new to me, and the traditional songs are arranged in new ways, a joy to the ears.
Joining Buller are Rhonda Vincent, The Fairfield Four, Tim O'Brien, Vince Gill, Sharon White, Sierra Hull, Ricky Skaggs, Ron Block, Dan Tyminski, among others. Buller shares a songwriting credit on six of the eleven songs here, all done with bluegrass instrumentation, not rushed, not dragging, just perfect: The perfect CD to pop in the stereo as you decorate, wrap presents, and prepare the food for a Christmas feast with your family and friends.
My favorites are Buller's fresh arrangement of “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel,” which she duets with Tim O'Brien; “Mary Rocked Her Baby” with The Fairfield Four; the Fanny Crosby classic hymn, “Tell Me The Story Of Jesus,” with Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs; and Buller's composition, “The Box.” Every song is listenable, repeatedly. As soon as my wife hears this, I'll lose it to her car.
Salute to Becky Buller and all the guest artists for delivering a performance, not an execution. And salute to Stephen Mougin on the recording and mixing, and to David Glasser on the mastering. I cranked this up at high volume on my studio monitors to see if the recordings were as clean as they seemed piped through a vintage Marantz amp and various vintage loudspeakers. They are. I truly love the transparent, clean sound of a good recording. To hear the crisp highs and mids with no hint of harshness, and the punchy bass that soothes but not rattles is always a pleasure.
I am sold. Merry Christmas, everyone. Thanks to Becky Buller, I've got The Perfect Gift.