Friday, November 8, 2013

CD Review: Elizabeth Chan "Everyday Holidays"

Elizabeth Chan: Everyday Holidays

Let’s get right to it: I really love this record.

Many readers of Merry and Bright, being the internet-savvy, Christmas music loving folk that they are, may already be familiar with Elizabeth Chan.  In 2012 Elizabeth released an EP titled “Naughty & Nice”, with 5 original Christmas songs.  Elizabeth, who lives and breathes Christmas every day of the year, has a goal to write and record a modern classic Christmas song.  To this end, she has written over 300 seasonal songs to date.  In 2013, Elizabeth went to Kickstarter to help fund a full-length CD, and at the end of the funding period 95 backers had committed over $10,000 to support her project.  And now, after all is said and done, we have a full CD from Elizabeth, with 10 original songs, plus a remix cut, for a total of eleven happenin’ holiday tunes. 

Elizabeth’s songs tend toward a blend of Christmas with pop arrangements.  “Fa La La” is the best of the bunch, and it is her first single from the album.  “Fa La La” is a catchy, energetic song with a driving snare drum beat.  You’ll be tapping your feet and nodding your head along as you listen, and you’ll find yourself singing along.

“A Christmas Song” is a wonderful cornucopia of Christmas song tidbits, expertly woven together with an upbeat, jingly arrangement.  A few years ago Rocky and Balls (aka Sophie Madeleine and Hannah-Rei) achieved perfection with their “Christmas Song Song”, creating a kazoo-accompanied homage to what seemed like every popular Christmas song ever.  But while Rocky and Balls created a work of pure whimsy, Elizabeth has married the joy of hearing Christmas songs with the feelings of love for that one special person.  It’s a truly great song that gives us a glimpse into Elizabeth’s passions and soul. 

“Vixen” debuted on “Naughty & Nice” and makes a return on this CD.  It’s a sexy little song about Santa’s favorite girl who may, just may, edge over into the realm of the naughty J  “Vixen” is totally unique and attention-getting, while remaining radio-friendly.  Now if only Christmas radio would play it!

On “Only On Christmas Time”, Elizabeth explores her range as a vocalist, particularly into her lower register, with wonderful results.  It’s a dance-beat celebration of the season, and very enjoyable.

“Tis the Season” is a rockin’, drivin’ force of a song with powerful drumming by John Benthal, shredding guitar by Nik Chinboukas, and sleighbells – what a great mix!

I find this collection of songs to be truly inspirational.  Elizabeth has not relied on covers and interpretations of classic Christmas songs to get our attention.  This is an artist truly following her dream, which is not just performing Christmas songs, but writing, performing, and recording her own Christmas songs.  Folks, this is inspiring artistry at its best.  And she’s good, too, friends, really good. 
And, I have to give a quick shout-out to Elizabeth's musicians who helped make this record:  Tony Lauria, Dylan Wissing, Yan Falmagne, Andy Snitzer, Kent Smith, Pemberton Roach, and Steve Addabbo.
To me, this is what Christmas music is all about.  It comes straight from the heart of an artist.  It’s a direct connection to the passions of a musician.  Elizabeth’s love of Christmas shines through on every song.

Please visit Elizabeth’s website to learn more, and to hear samples of her music.  Then surf on over to Amazon or iTunes and support an inspirational artist.

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