Album Review: Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel’s ‘Christmas Island’

Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel

By Gail Reynolds, Rock At Night Tampa

Album Review: Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel Christmas Island 

Christmas Island

Amid the enduring holly jolly, jingle bell rocking Christmas tree favorites,  new holiday music is often welcomed.  If you’d like something fresh but not far-fetched,  Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel’s newly released Christmas Island is a perfect addition to a listening library.  

Rock at Night’s February 2015 interview  with the ukulele superstars reveals them to be musically complex, going beyond the stereotypical notions non-uke enthusiasts might have.  

Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel

As in their other albums, their arrangements with bass and percussion accompaniment make you forget you are listening to ukulele music per se. In Christmas Island, they cover a range of holiday standards including “The Christmas Song, “Sleigh Ride,” and “White Christmas.” However, they pay homage to their four stringed instruments with “Mele Kalikimaka” and the title cut, “Christmas Island.” 

There are also some atypical treats.  It’s puzzling why  “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” is seldom covered.  Maisel’s rendition of this children’s ditty is  delightful  with its bowed bass  instrumental break suggesting the requested pet’s lumbering dancing.  

In more than just a nod to diversity is the spirited medley of “Oh Chanukah” and “S’vivon.” 

What better way to conclude Chee and Maisel’s first holiday album than with the romantic classic “Merry Christmas, Darling.” Give a listen:  

 Would-be musicians may also purchase a digital song book of selections on the album  with box chord charts and chord diagrams. The download comes with the PDF of the book as well as 10 play-along tracks. 

 Or you can simply purchase a physical CD or download, pour some egg nog and enjoy! 




Gail Reynolds

Forest Live Festival – UK

Forest Live Festival – UK