Nancy Beaudette calls her Christmas CD Fa La La and the warm rhythm everybody associates with that refrain sums up the entire album. Beaudette has loaded this CD like a Christmas stocking with all sorts of embraceable goodies.
Opening title track “Fa La La” gets a warm bracing support from Beaudette’s ukulele and a tinkling of sweetness from her junk yard band percussion. Young backing vocalists Luke and Owen Benedict and Liam and Caroline Clinton add a very special dimension to the chorus. Beaudette put together all of these ingredients to come up with a very likable Christmas original.
Beaudette sings with an angelic tenderness on “Silence Tonight,” a somber reminder that some families have loved ones serving overseas. Mike Olsen’s cello comes in like a haunting specter that longs to make contact with the living, and the song pulls you in deeper into its poignant emotive stages. Beaudette’s chorus with the tune’s co-songwriter Christine Hatch is sweetly fulsome and poignant.
Solo acoustic number “In Our Home” has as much homey feeling as it does talent. Beaudette creates plenty of texture with just the two instruments. She caresses her vocal notes and presses her guitar notes into something that makes you feel what she felt during the holidays in her childhood home. Many listeners will likely relate to this one.
“Most Of All Baby” is a jaunty stroll through bright, lively Christmas imagery. Beaudette keeps sending her silky smooth timbre up over and down the groove created by bassist Scott Rossley and percussionist Glenn Forrester. Each bounce in her step is another sweet treat for the ears.
“Gold And Myrrh” showcases Beaudette’s piano work. She weaves a beautifully thick, rich tapestry with those ivory keys while she continues applying her voice, soft as a whisper, lush as a choir, at creating something precious and rare.
“I Think I’ll Buy A Christmas Tree” is a pleasing confection of voice and acoustic guitar and Glenn Forrester’s bass. You can enjoy each layer separately, and when you listen intently to the three parts together, it’s like a dessert with something more enjoyable with each bite. Beaudette’s rangy lushness caress the ear. Her acoustic guitar persistence carries one forward like the wing of an angel. Forrester’s bass wraps it all up and the listener too in a warm embrace. There is a smoothness here. You cannot help but feel you’re watching Beaudette’s story play out as seamless as a motion picture.
A little heft in the beat nudges “My Silvertone Guitar” merrily along with almost as much steam as a two step shuffle. Bassist Scott Rossley creates a warm holiday vibe here and Anna Uptain’s flat pick guitar playing gives this piece another layer of heft with her gritty, snappy notes. Beaudette rides the waves of this piece with the same lush warmth as her previous numbers. Yet, she makes even greater use of her voice with this peaks and valley vocal approach.
“Merry Christmas To Me” is a solemn reflection by someone who is alone for the holidays. The singer longs to recapture a moment in a relationship so she can once more hear her beloved say “Merry Christmas” to her. Beaudette’s sensitive rendering of this song brings to life the disappointment and sorrow of anybody who has to be alone during the holidays. She does this without falling into maudlin sentiment. There is a special clarity to her timbre here that makes you feel what the singer was likely feeling when she wrote this piece.
Beaudette closes out with “The Babe Of Bethlehem,” singing it with a special reverence in her approach and timbre. The singer-songwriter brings it back to what the message of Christmas is all about. A birth. Not just the birth of a baby, but the birth of a faith, the birth of new hope, all bundled up in one small infant child. Beaudette infuses her vocal with the appropriate warmth for the new child and for the new faith. Bravo!
Beaudette offers a lot of holiday sentiment in this release Fa La La. She explores the holiday in all of its various implications, from the birth of a special child to a person who is alone for the holidays after a broken relationship. Beaudette’s voice, guitar, songwriting and her support players are all in top form here. This CD should make an excellent stocking stuffer but it is also a whole lot more.