By Gail Reynolds, Rock At Night Tampa
Album Review: Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel 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.
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!
- Album Review: Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel’s ‘Christmas Island’ - December 19, 2019
- Free For All: community supported high quality music - September 29, 2019
- Album Review: John Prine’s ‘The Tree of Forgiveness’ - February 9, 2019