Artist: Chris Standring and Kathrin Shorr
Album: Send Me Some Snow
Label: Ultimate Vibe
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