MATTHEW WEST'S THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS

$ 16.95

Matthew West's “The Heart Of Christmas” offers a holiday-themed assortment of seasonal romantic ballads, classic nativity songs, jazzy numbers, and acoustic folk-country tunes. His warm, supple voice easily applies itself to a cozy, piano-centered version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and a lightly swinging take on “Jingle Bells.” (It makes you want to go out and romp in the snow!) “Silent Night” and “O, Holy Night” are sung with expressive reverence, while “O Come All Ye Faithful” comes decked out in a vibrant gospel arrangement.

West's original tunes are a high point, ranging from the hope-filled “Give This Christmas Away” (a duet with Amy Grant), to the ebullient ’50s-style rocker “Come On, Christmas” and the gently twanging “Leaving Heaven.” The latter song is a guitar-picking, upbeat original duet with Vince Gill, and it's about Jesus leaving heaven to be born as the Son of God, being able to save us, so we can see heaven. It is a very spiritual song, but it has a simple aspect to it that makes listening to it over and over again a real pleasure. ”Christmas Makes Me Cry” is a compelling duet with “American Idol” winner Mandisa, that pays tribute to our soldiers.

Saving the most moving song for the end, Matthew recounts a real-life story of holiday compassion in “One Last Christmas.” Admittedly it's a bittersweet tale of a town that came together to celebrate Christmas in September for a terminally ill little boy. This poignant story brings this well-rounded collection to an uplifting close.

Christmas is our favorite holiday, without question. We love everything about it: the colorful lights, the snow, the music, the food, the family, the congestion at the mall...everything! We have a large collection of seasonal music, including many repeats. But then Matthew West came along with some new songs in this album that are well crafted and beautifully performed. After listening to it once over, we were surprised and delighted! This turns out to be one of our favorite Christmas albums ever!

Matthew was born in 1977 in Downers Grove, IL. As a child he was a fan of the Chicago Cubs and wanted to be a baseball player but instead wound up receiving a four-year music scholarship to Millikin University. West wrote most of his first songs in the sanctuary of his father's church. Friends then signed him up and paid the admission fee for him to attend a Gospel Music Assn. in the Rockies seminar. In 2002, he suffered a freak injury when he locked himself out of his house, broke a window and nearly severed an artery. He signed with Word Records and in 2007 needed surgery to save his voice. He has been active in Christian music and television and lives in Nashville with his wife and two duaghters.

For some reason, Matthew hasn't achieved the widespread notoriety that he deserves. We’re proud to offer this CD for your listening pleasure.

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