Album Review: David Crowder* Band - Oh For Joy
While we wait for the band's magnum opus, the upcoming Give Us Rest (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]), the boys from Waco have given us a little Christmas present in the form of Oh For Joy.
There are a couple of must-have Crowder albums - notably A Collision, Remedy Club Tour and Sunsets and Sushi - and this is one of them. A full-on Christmas album! Awesome.
The amazing thing about this record - which so many Christmas records lack - is how true the band stays to the spirit of these songs; the dignity and honor they bring to this sometimes solemn, sometimes powerful music. "Joy to the World" is pure worship, and David's plaintive voice really leads you to a joyful place. "The First Noel" is equally beautiful - acoustic guitar and violin bringing the mellow tune to a place it seldom goes anymore. One song that does have a very "Crowder-like" twist is "Angels We Have Heard on High," done as a bluegrass number complete with banjo and fiddle. Dave hold off on the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" lyric until the end, when you've almost forgotten about it. "O Come, O Come Emmanuel is hauntingly beautiful, building to an epic crescendo of "Rejoice!"
Right then, the album goes smoothly from studio to live, without skipping a beat. "O Holy Night" is one of my favorite songs, and this is now my favorite rendition, with a lovely acoustic accompaniment. The same goes for "Silent Night," treated with wonderful dignity and beauty.
Finally, in a truly epic ending, Dave gives a short comment on the twelve days of Christmas, and the band launches into a note-perfect rendition of the Trans Siberian Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells (Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24).
The band may be moving onto other things, but this album is destined to be a standard for a long time to come. A fitting offering for their penultimate album, and a Christmas record that brings honor and solemnity back to the genre.