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CD REVIEW: Chris Standring & Kathrin Shorr - Send Me Some Snow
By JJ Biener - 12/07/2011 - 12:39 AM EST

Artist: Chris Standring and Kathrin Shorr
Album: Send Me Some Snow
Label: Ultimate Vibe
Website: http://chrisstandring.com
Genre: Holiday
CD Review:

It is that time of the year.  With the coming of the holiday season comes the inevitable onslaught of the Christmas CDs.  Nothing against the season, but let’s be honest.  Most of the time, Christmas CDs are…well…disappointing.   The typical example has the artist covering a collection of standards and then two, maybe three, new songs.  The new songs for the most part are…uninspired.

This is why I initially met the news of a new Christmas CD by Chris Standring with some trepidation.  If you don’t know about Chris, he is a first-class Jazz guitarist.  I have been listening to him for years, and I have great respect for his work.  The thought of him producing just one more mediocre holiday offering wasn’t very encouraging.  When I heard it was going to contain all original songs, I didn’t know how he was going to pull it off.

Creating a new Christmas song is a daunting task.  Christmas is about tradition.  There is a reason why most artists include the standard songs of the season.  The best way to capture the holiday spirit is to tap into the memories of the listener and evoke Christmases past.  New songs don’t have that advantage so it is especially difficult for them to really feel like Christmas.

So this was my mindset when I first listened to “Send Me Some Snow” by Chris Standring and vocalist Kathrin Shorr.  To put it bluntly, I was blown away.  From the very first song, I was hooked.  This is easily the best Christmas CD I have heard in years.  If you are tired of hearing the same old songs and you want new music that captures the season, this is the CD to get.

I have talked a bit about Chris, and Kathrin certainly deserves her due.  Her voice and style finds the sweet spot between Rickie Lee Jones and Norah Jones.  Her voice is sweet, smoky and sultry.  It is both classic and contemporary.  It fits the music like the proverbial hand in a warm winter glove.  She also has the distinction of having written the lyrics, and it is the lyrics which go a long way toward making this music truly feel like Christmas.

As I mentioned above, these are all original songs.  The opening track, the title track, “Send Me Some Snow” pulls the listener in from the opening chords.  This song could easily have been dropped into the movie White Christmas as a production number sung by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.  The string arrangement and sleigh bells harken back to the Christmas songs of the 40’s and 50’s we grew up listening too.  It evokes memories while still being fresh and new.

The track “Dear Santa” is an interesting twist on the time-honored letter-to-Santa song.  This one is sung from the point of view of Mrs. Claus.  “Someone’s Gonna Get Something For Christmas” has echoes of Vince Guaraldi and the music he wrote for A Charlie Brown Christmas.  It also has elements of the Christmas songs sung by the pop stars of the 60’s.  “Through the Holidays” is a take on the melancholy holiday song, a reminder that not everyone gets their wish at Christmas.

By using elements of the past, the CD “Send Me Some Snow” provides the continuity necessary to make this truly a Christmas CD.  It speaks to the memories of our childhood and it warms that place in our heart that is reserved for the holiday season even if that place is only in our dreams.

For more information or to purchase this CD, check out www.chrisstandring.com.




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