Charlie Daniels is just so good at making you feel like you are smack-dab in the middle of the party. In this case, one of the most joyous of Christmas parties ever held.
Besides members of the Charlie Daniels Band, Joy To The World is packed full of some of the finest pickers in the South. Not to mention some dynamite singers.
It’s an uplifting set to be sure, from the first notes of the old bluegrass favorite “Christmas Time’s a Comin’” which finds Charlie picking with The Grascals, and Charlie and friends backing up fellow Greenville SC home boy Aaron Tippin on an outstanding version of Charlie’s “Christmas Time Down South.” (Charlie’s own version of this song has been a Christmas day staple at the Smith home for many a year now.)
Speaking of familiar songs, another staple of our December 25th celebration has always been Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.” Now we have a new version to enjoy by way of the lovely Jewel backed by the CDB and friends.
Another classic Charlie Christmas song, “Mississippi Christmas Eve” is given a new bounce with mandolin, fiddle, and banjo. As my buddy Derek would say, “it’s a good-urn.”
“Hallelujah” is also a familiar tune to us Charlie fans, although this version is “grassed up” and sounding mighty fine. Guitarist Bruce Brown wrote great song there.
Dan Tyminski delivers the classic "Christmas Song: and Kathy Mattea does a beautiful up tempo take on “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” Evelyn Cox sings a musically fresh version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,” backed by the CDB and the other Cox family ladies.
Charlie himself sings “Joy to the World” and reads the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Suzanne Cox takes the lead vocal on the beautiful “Silent Night,: and Charlie closes things out by reading his “Carolina Christmas Story,” a truly heart warming tale about growing up in his home town in Wilmington, NC.
Besides the audio CD, the set includes a DVD “A Twin Pines Christmas” featuring the artists playing these songs live. It’s one to watch with the entire family in front of a roaring fire, some hot cider, and a nice piece of fruitcake. On second thought, the fruitcake and cider are optional. The fire and the family are not.
-Michael Buffalo Smith