[R]iding in the car, my son wanted to listen to Christmas music. He's two. I don’t know how he has come to enjoy the traditional holiday favorites at this age, but he has. I tuned the radio to the proper station and found the cast of Glee singing "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." It was an ice pick in my ears. I am a Grinch. That is what my wife says. And my parents. And my brother. His lady friend hasn't said that yet, but I'm sure she might when we're all together on the 25th of this month and mom gets out Boston Pops Christmas on vinyl and my eyes roll so far into the back of my head you'd think Marley's ghost had just taken over my being. It's not something I've chosen. I have been on this planet for 29 years. For 28 of those years, I could count 5 albums of Christmas music I really enjoyed. Not tolerated or got into for a listen, but enjoyed. Albums I wanted to listen to again using headphones, not just as background music while drinking Egg Nog with good people I love. Last year, that number went up to 6. That's the use of 1.2 hands-worth of fingers. Milestone. Salvation Is Created is a Christmas record put together by the good people at Bifrost Arts. There is a good chance you've never heard of them, but you have now. Take it as a cue to listen to both this album and their first release Come O Spirit. It will be either de-weeding or harvest time in your heart. Either way, it's good for us. Concerning Bifrost and the way they go about the albums they put together and the artists they ask to play on those albums:
"With care, they craft each song and spiritual to encompass the glory, the fall, and the in-between--the diamond, the rough, and the friction where they meet; the place where we all live every day. And taking its cues from the Psalmists, who wrote their fears and doubts and joys to be sung, Bifrost Arts moves the music and all its emotional and spiritual realities out of the studio and into crowded living rooms, rowdy bars, and neighborhood churches, providing songbooks and lead sheets so all can join in. Because Song--the form, the genre, the lifeblood of Americana--should be shared. Their projects are about friends connecting with friends, doubters and believers sharing the same bench, and broken people singing their hope."When it comes to their Christmas effort, the songs go beyond the celebration of a season or a day. Salvation Is Created seems to truly capture the the exact celebration of the title. It is something to be believed not for a month or a night, but it is the hope to be believed in always, yes? The collection brings together beautiful renditions of the popular songs of the season alongside songs forgotten and songs new. All performed by what rings in my ears as some of the more authentic musicians you may or may not have heard of. I do not know if it is the unfamiliarity of some of the songs or the collection of the artists performing them or what seems to be a mastery of the dynamics of an album...but every time I listen to Salvation Is Created - whether it is in July or December - I think I understand a tiny bit more of what this is all about. I comprehend a bit more of the beautifulness of this part of our story. The beginning of the rest of our story. Merry Christmas. (Salvation Is Created and Come O Spirit are both available via most digital music sites or at www.greatcomfortrecords.com)
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