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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Skaggs Family – A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2

The Skaggs Family – A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2
2011, Skaggs Family Records
Ricky Skaggs is a known talent.  His 14 GRAMMY Awards and 11 IBMA Awards are a testament to long-term excellence.  The talent doesn’t stop with Skaggs, alone, however.  The Skaggs Family as a whole is extremely talented, blending country, bluegrass and old-school southern gospel styles into a mélange that is musical comfort food.  Their latest effort, A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2, is due on September 27, 2011.

The album plays like an old-time gospel radio show with bluegrass style in its roots.  The instrumental work on A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2, is exquisitely crafted; the vocals are down-home, yet pristine.  The Skaggs get things started with “Christmas Times A Coming”, a folksy, bluegrass Christmas anthem that gets everything going on a traditionalist slant that’s appealing.  “Light Of The Stable” is a musical celebration of the birth of Jesus in pure southern gospel style.  “The First Noel” is offered up in a gorgeous, acappella arrangement with full harmonies.  “What Songs Were Sung” is absolutely inspired, a simple-yet-powerful anthem about the first Christmas

“Silent Night” is offered in classic mixolydian style; an arrangement not dissimilar the classic hymn style used in churches for years.  The Skaggs family breaks into an impressive instrumental on “Flight To Egypt”, reminding listeners that it’s not necessary to rely on repetitive forms in order to speak through your instrument.  “Reunion Song” is a revivalist tune, a musical coming together centered on Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus.  The traditional spiritual “Children Go” is full of life, mixing southern gospel and country styles quite convincingly.  The album closes with a contemplative and simple, yet gorgeous arrangement of “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel”, followed by an orchestral take on “Joy To The World”.
You know when you see the Skaggs name on something musical it’s going to be good.  Whether it’s his solo albums, work with Kentucky Thunder, The Skaggs family as a whole, or even some of the peripheral projects of individual family members such as Songs Of Water.   A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2 is worth spending some time with.  The album is well-produced, the music sounding as perfect for a concert hall stage or the back porch as a family holiday party.  The 16-song DVD that accompanies the package is also a gem, a full concert featuring songs on the CD and additional tracks that couldn’t be included.  The entire affair is a breath of fresh holiday air.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about the Skaggs Family at  A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume 2 is available for pre-order at the above website.  The album is also available for pre-order through as a CD or Download.

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