Isobel Bartz and her friend have just released their first album, The Gift of Christmas. This joyous Christmas record takes us on a nostalgic, uplifting visit to the music of Christmases past in a variety of musical styles ranging from traditional carols to popular standards.
Opening up strongly on “The Christmas Song,” luscious strings soothe us into orchestral-dripped bliss as Isobel's angelic voice fills the airwaves. The instrumentation on this release is simply spectacular, fusing organic classic-string sections to mystifying piano lines. It is all wrapped up in a wonderful package, with just the right amount of pop-perfect melodies to keep you hooked from start to finish.
The second song on the release, “All Through the Night,'' is a truly spellbinding experience. Her operatic vocals glide over sweet instrumentation in this stunning rendition of the timeless track.
“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” is the third track, and it’s a trip down memory lane, paying tribute to David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Her duet with Demetrius Jackson offers awe-inspiring vocal synergy, as the passionate pounding of a drum slowly builds.
Lush guitar licks take over next as “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella/Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle” calms us with its bittersweet melodies and soaring vocals in both French and English.
"Coventry Carol” offers an original renaissance arrangement as the vocals effortlessly soar over a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment.
The sixth track, “The Gift You Are,” is a truly majestic version of John Denver's song; it feels like it’s straight out of a Disney film as bewitching, soft vocals pair with uplifting, empowering lyrics.
“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?'' brings razzle-dazzle to the mix with a full-band setup, keeping a steady pace of rich instrumentation that sets off vocals brimming with versatility and soul-stirring crescendos.
We finish on “Silent Night/Stille Nacht,” a gorgeous German and English vocal arrangement of the classic carol, accompanied by an original harp arrangement.
The Gift of Christmas is the perfect soundtrack to get you in the festive spirit. It is a truly soul-soothing experience that covers much ground but still leaves us eager for more!