We are all about holiday music in our house. Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, we start listening exclusively to Christmas tunes; this lasts until New Years Day when we switch back to our regular playlists. There are two exceptions during this time: November 29 when we honor the life of the late great George Harrison by playing his entire catalogue and December 8, when we pay homage to the brilliance of John Lennon with his oeuvre.
Otherwise, we’re fa-la-la-la-la’ing and oh-by-gosh-by-golly’ing 24/7.
This is all festive and merry for a good, say, two or three weeks.
It’s usually around this time that I get a little weary of marshmallow worlds, reindeers running over grandmas and Christmas shoes. In other words, the same old, same old.
Not this year.
On heavy rotation is “Light Up the Holidays” by Rachel Cole, her fifth studio album that celebrates several of the light-filled holidays that so many of us enjoy during the cold, dark Winter months.
“We’re living in a very divisive time right now,” Rachel says, adding that her intent with this album was to bring people together through music. “The focus is on the celebrations that we all share during the Winter months, honoring and recognizing our similarities rather than our differences.”
(Full disclosure time: Rachel has been a personal friend of mine since our high school days. She and her husband Jason are exceptional people. They’re incredibly generous, kind, and are the kind of folks who just radiate love and goodness. They — along with their kids and Rachel’s parents — are some of my favorite people in the world. I love them. So, yeah, she’s a friend but one who just so happened to be nominated for “Best New Artist” at the New Music Weekly Awards in Hollywood, among her many other accomplishments.)
“Light Up the Holidays” is an upbeat, pop and jazz inspired collection of music that includes covers of standards such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” alongside three of Rachel’s original compositions. “Savor the Joy”, “‘Tis the Season” and “Hanukkah is Here” are excellent additions to any holiday playlist.
Along with Rachel’s talented lead vocals (she also plays piano and strings on this album), “Light Up the Holidays” features several other accomplished musicians and singers. Among them are Peter Vantine (piano, keyboard, strings, arrangements), Peter Tentindo (guitar, vocals, arrangements), Lou Spagnola (bass), Tom Major (drums and percussion), Peter Levesque (saxophone), Jacyn Tremblay (backup vocals), Lily Horst (making her studio recording debut on this album with backup vocals), Rory Martinelli and Kenny Lewis (producer, sound engineer, mixing engineer, mastering). Rachel and her husband Jason Cole duet on “Let It Snow.”
Here’s how to get your own copy of “Light Up the Holidays”:
Entire album “Light Up the Holidays” is available now at:
And here’s a YouTube clip of Rachel’s “Jingle Bells/Dreidle Song” mashup which is included on “Light Up the Holidays.”
“The holiday season is a time of gathering together with family and friends and bringing light into the darkness of December,” Rachel said. “It is my hope that this album and its music will be a light to you, the people you love, and to the world around us all days.”