Album Reviews: Blake Shelton’s Christmas CD & Nicolle Galyon’s New EP

The Voice fans got a double dose of new music this week: coach Blake Shelton put out his first Christmas album, appropriately entitled Cheers, It’s Christmas, and Team Adam’s Nicolle Galyon released her post-show EP Child of the Country Sun. I’ve given both albums a listen to give you the dish.

Blake Shelton: Cheers, It’s Christmas

If you were going to invite anyone from The Voice to your Christmas party, it would be Blake Shelton. He would be the life of the party and he would bring the drinks. Since it’s not possible for Blake to go to a couple hundred thousand holiday get-togethers, though, this is the next best thing: a Christmas album with the CMA winner lending his fantastic vocals to some of your favorite tunes.

Voice fans will appreciate that Blake has recruited everyone he’s asked to help Team Blake onto this CD: his wife/Season 2 advisor Miranda Lambert, Season 1 advisor Reba McEntire, Season 2 advisor Kelly Clarkson and Season 3 advisor Michael Buble. On top of that, his Season 1 semi-finalist Xenia also makes an appearance. Yet these aren’t guests just for the sake of having them – all of them complement Blake very well, and Blake is just as great as he’s ever been.

There are three tracks that stand out on the album, each for different reasons: Blake and Miranda’s version of “Jingle Bell Rock” is the perfect song to play at the aforementioned Christmas party. It’s the best version of that song yet recorded. On the flip side, Blake joins Buble on a version of the latter’s “Home” rewritten for the holidays; they sound excellent together, and it’s neat to hear them collaborate on a song they’ve both had success with. And it’s ridiculously touching to hear Blake singing with his mother, Dorothy Shackleford, on “Time For Me to Come Home.” You can just hear how much they must have enjoyed recording the song together.

Holiday albums always try to evoke a certain warmth, and Cheers, It’s Christmas has that throughout. Even those burned out on Christmas music won’t be able to repress a smile listening to Blake’s versions of some of these now well-known songs.

The only thing that would make this album any better is if we could’ve gotten Blake to sing some of the more irreverent holiday tunes, like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or this classic Bill Engvall ode to fruitcake. Other than that, though, this is pretty much a perfect Christmas album.

If you haven’t picked up your copy already, click here.

Nicolle Galyon: Child of the Country Sun

Team Adam’s Nicolle Galyon was one of the artists that we didn’t get to know that well during Season 2 of The Voice, being that she left us during battle rounds. This EP kind of has the same feeling as her stint on the show: it’s really good, but by nature of being an EP, it leaves you wanting more.

There are four songs on the EP, which will make my fellow Team Adam supporters very happy given that two of them involve some of Nicolle’s Season 2 teammates. Tony Lucca lends his voice to the title track, and while I wouldn’t previously have thought to pair them together, he and Nicolle sound beautiful in harmony. On “Jesus Town,” you’ll hear what Adam Levine must have been thinking of when he decided to put Nicolle and Mathai together during battles.

Yet Nicolle stands strong on this album, whether she’s singing with someone or by herself. In addition to being a great vocalist, she is also a talented songwriter, and this EP is a solid presentation of both those things. This isn’t just catchy music – though I dare you not to be humming the title track after you’ve heard it – but you get a sense of who Nicolle is by listening to her lyrics. (Though if you want to know more about her, you can also check out my interview.)

If you haven’t already done so, The Voice fans would be wise to give Nicolle a second listen, because this release shows why she deserved a spot on Team Adam – and it’ll leave you waiting for a full-length album.

You can download Nicolle’s EP off iTunes here.

Next week, Team Christina’s Chris Mann releases his own holiday album, Home for Christmas (October 9), and later this month he debuts his first post-series full album, Roads (October 30), which features a duet with his coach, Christina Aguilera. Stay tuned for reviews of those CD’s as I get them!

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Exclusive to Big Red Chairs. No reproduction permitted. All rights reserved.

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