On Monday morning, we headed over to Biblical Time Theater for a special listening party. There we were treated to a preview of Greater Vision’s brand-new Christmas album titled Christmas In London. The song selection on this album is mostly traditional carols with the addition of Lanny Wolfe’s “Cherish That Name.” What sets this recording apart from other traditional Christmas albums are Trey Ivey’s orchestrations recorded by the Royal Philhamonic Orchestra at the famous Abbey Road studio.
Not to take away anything from the vocal performances that follow, but I most enjoyed the orchestra-only track titled “The Prelude” that opens the album. After that, I’d have to say my favorite vocal track is “Cherish That Name.” There’s a special surprise mid-way through that song, so listen closely to see if you realize what’s going on the first time you hear it. I did hear a brief moment or two where the strings overpowered the vocals and another spot where the strings were mixed so strong that they almost hid a jazz feel underneath. Other than that, the balance in the mix is impeccable. “An Instrumental Meditation” is another nice moment where the orchestra shines.
Before each song, a member of the group provided a bit of background mostly about the arrangements, but also on why certain songs were selected. After we heard the album, the members of Greater Vision along with Ivey took questions from the audience. One point Gerald Wolfe stressed a couple of times is they want fans to listen to the entire album with the tracks in the specific order they appear on the album…and this is possible to do even if you listen on a streaming service. I agree. It’s a concept album, so cherry picking this song or that lessens the impact.
The listening party was free, but seating was limited. Every available seat was quickly claimed after the event was announced last week. They also offered free cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate. CDs so hot off the press they lacked shrink-wrap. gold LPs, and plain USB drives were available for purchase when the event concluded.
If you’re a fan of traditional Christmas music, consider this new Greater Vision album a “Must Buy.”
Track Titles: The Prelude – Caroling, Caroling, Angels From The Realms Of Glory -O Holy Night / In The Bleak Midwinter – Hark, The Herald Angels Sing – Silent Night – What Child Is This – We Three Kings – O Come All Ye Faithful / The First Noel – An Instrumental Meditation – Cherish That Name – Good Christian Men Rejoice
Star Rating: 5 Stars (scale of 1-5)
As we left, I located my new personalized brick right beside the Blackwood Brothers bus. See if you can find it the next time you visit the SGMA Hall Of Fame & Museum! (And yeah, there really should be an apostrophe in Murray’s…but you’re used to seeing the occasional misteak if you’re a regular reader of this blog.)