Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Album Review: Acoustic Christmas by Camille Nelson

Recording artist Camille Nelson is a supremely talented Billboard-charting guitarist and violinist whom I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing in the past. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and now living in Switzerland, she’s also younger sister to Steven Sharp Nelson of the hugely successful classical crossover group, The Piano Guys.

Camille’s latest album, Acoustic Christmas, is a heart-warming collection of Christmas carols that showcases acoustic folk, neoclassical and adult contemporary styles of music, with half the album featuring guest vocalists.

Leading the album is a relaxing acoustic version of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” which immediately paints an idyllic window scene of a cozy fireplace and snowfall outside. Evoking memories of Christmases past and an overall sense of soul-soothing comfort, Camille continues with a softly flowing rendition of “Joy to the World”, with its warm acoustic layers subtly rising and falling like gently rolling waves. Following next is “Little Drummer Boy” which features a soulful vocal performance by Yahosh Bonner. One of the most pronounced songs on the album, it’s smoothly guided along by organic percussion throughout, as improvised vocal and instrumental touches seemingly take the listener on a joyous night ride through a starry winter night.

One of my favorite pieces on the album is “Wexford Carol”, wherein Camille adds a lovely Celtic twist with violin. Likewise, a repeating guitar pattern underscores the main melody throughout, which creates a meditative atmosphere of old-world mystique. Another sung performance ensues with “Still, Still, Still”, which is a lovingly tender lullaby-like piece showcasing the harmonious female vocals of KORA.

More beautifully peaceful instrumentals follow like “Once in David’s Royal’s City” and “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”, as well as a couple more vocal pieces – notably the timeless classic “O Holy Night”, which features singer Mari who's performance is supported by Camille's beautifully simple acoustic arrangement. Perfectly concluding the album is a solo acoustic rendering of “Silent Night” to help calm the spirit and close out the night.

Capturing the nostalgia of past Christmastimes, Acoustic Christmas will appeal to fans of both contemporary acoustic and traditional Christmas carols. Wonderfully reminiscent at times of some of the iconic Christmas albums released on Narada and Windham Hill Records throughout the 1990’s, Acoustic Christmas is both classic and modern in sound and style – peaceful yet spirited – down-to-earth yet divine! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon, iTunes and other online music retailers. For more information, please visit the artist's website.