Steven Curtis Chapman’s All I Really Want For Christmas boasts four original tunes by the singer / songwriter and stylized arrangements on several traditional tunes. In recent years Chapman has gone from being a good entertainer to being a superb songwriter.

“All I Really Want”,  the title track, is an example of that excellence in songwriting and serves as a reminder that so many children in our world just want to belong ?to someone who loves them.

“All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win There’s so much I could ask for, but there’s just one thing I need All I really want for Christmas is a family”

While the words to this song remind us of the orphans in this world, it  should also prompt us to remember those who live in loveless and abusive homes or those who have lost a parent through divorce or death. While Christmas can and should be a time of joy for many, it can be a very lonely time for those who will go this year without experiencing the love of a mother or father.

Another of the artist’s original contributions to this CD is “Christmas Is All in the Heart” a duet with guest Vince Gill. Gill who needs no introduction, is a perfect compliment to Chapman’s voice. The song brings us back to the real meaning of Christmas that when we take away the tinsel, the commercials, the colored lights, we have the hope of Christmas nestled in our hearts. This is the prettiest track on the album and I hope is released as a single to radio this season.

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I have heard “Go Tell It On The Mountain” sung in hillbilly style, classically, with soul and countrified but I like the nice simple arrangements that Chapman has applied to this wonderful song of the ages. While he adds some soul to his vocals he doesn’t overdo it. You don’t become so engrossed in the vocals and instrumentals that you lose sight of the message which is to literally go tell the world that Christmas day marks the birth of our Lord and Savior.

As I listened to him sing Felix Bernard and Dick Smith’s “Winter Wonderland” I thought to myself, you better watch out Steven Curtis Chapman, there could be a future for you in singing old standards. For me the experience was akin to hearing Rod Stewart sing on his American Songbook albums.

I am not even going to try to name the many outstanding instrumentalists who contributed to this wonderful Christmas album. Suffice to say if there were no vocals, the album would still be worth what ever your local retailer is charging you. Producers Ed Cash, Brown Bannister and Chapman have given us some splendid arrangements, with which we can turn down the lights, turn on the Christmas tree bulbs and relax with loved ones in front of a fireplace.

Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.

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