David Crowder Band has already established themselves as an accomplished worshiper Joy band. As one of the more popular acts of the Passion Conference and having six official albums under their belt, additional albums including live performances, bluegrass covers, and even techno covers, what else is there for this band to conquer? Oh, I know, how about Christmas music. Oh For Joy takes a handful of classic Advent songs and, for the most part, puts the David Crowder Band flare on them.
The album actually starts off a little slow for me. “Joy to the World” is not one of my favorite Christmas songs, and there is not enough to keep me interested with this particular rendition. “The First Noel” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain” are relatively more of the same. Offering nothing particularly new, I just find them uninteresting.
But then it happens. Out of nowhere the first pluck of the banjo leads a blazing path for the fun, energetic, bluegrass rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Things finally begin to get interesting. This track is followed by the very dramatic sounding “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” I love the way this song builds to a climatic “Rejoice, Rejoice/ Emmanuel has come!” I get the feeling while listening to this song that David Crowder is really feeling what he is singing. Crowder does not just present cold and distant lyrics but offers up something that begins with a kind of angst and ends with real rejoicing. I appreciate that.
The rest of the album seems to have been recorded during a show because you can hear the crowd singing alongside Crowder. This seems to really add something special to the feel of the songs. “O Holy Night” begins with a very simple and traditional sound with just the guitar and voices of those singing. As the song progresses, instruments are added until the pounding of the drums captivates the listener to anticipate what the song is building up to. This was executed nicely. “Silent Night” is another song that starts off in a more traditional fashion but builds to include the DCB twist that only they could pull off. They add a nice spin to several classic Christmas songs. The album closes with “Carol of the Bells/Christmas Eve,” which sounds similar to the popular Tran-Siberian Orchestra. Though, there are similarities between the two, it is still a great way to close out this album.
While Oh For Joy started off a little slow for me, once it got good, it got really good. I love the way that David Crowder Band is able to take songs that we are all familiar with and have heard hundreds, if not thousands of times, yet put a new twist on them that makes them fresh and interesting. If you are a fan of the David Crowder Band and of Christmas music, I would feel confident in recommending this project to you.
LABEL: SIXSTEPSRECORDS/SPARROW RCORDS
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
RATING: 3 OUT OF 5