*A completely unbiased review of my wife and brother-in-law’s Christmas album.
From the first rhythmic strike of the piano keys to the strong and full vocals, we are immediately primed for feel of Long White Christmas. And it feels like Charity Long and Dan White have stepped right into your home and started cranking out tunes.
Now if you don’t know them well you may have reservations about finding musicians squatting in your house this holiday season. But I assure you they’re harmless. In fact a few seconds into the opening track Angels We Have Heard On High will reveal that these are people you want hanging around. This warm and homey Christmas music is a welcome holiday companion, and it’s not the usual fare.
Ditching a full band for a couple vocal mics and a piano, this minimalist setup is anything but. It is clear that this pair knows how to do a lot with a little. Both of their creative voices are present in the style and feel of this unique and wonderful collection.
Let’s talk about Charity first shall we. From the album cover I just have to begin by saying how fine that woman looks. MAN! That is one gorgeous female human being. I don’t know what her situation is, but I could totally see her having like four of my children. Marry me Charity!!!
Her undeniable beauty is matched by her undeniable voice. Soft and sweet when it needs to be. Strong and powerful when it needs to be. She is the kind of singer that can create tenderness out of thin air then blast into the stratosphere on tracks like I Heard the Bells and O Holy Night. On the latter, most would bail on the high note. Charity eats notes like that for breakfast…and lunch. But don’t underestimate her falsetto, which is piercingly beautiful at one particular point in The First Noel.
The strength and quality of her pipes is worth the price of admission.
Her striking voice. Her stunning beauty.
Charity is an angel that I have heard on high.
Now Dan looks good in the album cover but not as good as that fox Charity. Marry me Charity!!! Dan’s specialty is providing piano-candy. And it is delicious. Ten songs with only piano accompaniment on paper may sound like 40 minutes of monotony. That is everything but true with this guy. Dan’s skill on the ivories is every bit as strong as Charity’s on the um…voice box—I don’t know much slang for vocal chords. I am a competent piano player myself. But compared to Dan I’m like a beloved research Chimpanzee whose only accomplishment is the ability to find middle C on command, and not poop himself when he gets it wrong. Marry me Charity!!!
From the shining arrangements on I Heard the Bells—second time I’ve mentioned this great song, don’t miss it—The First Noel, and O Little Town of Bethlehem to the toe-tapping grooves on Angels We Have Heard On High and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Dan is putting his chops on display.
Track five begs the question, how many piano licks does it take to get to the center of a Jingle Bells Tootsie Pop? The world may never know, but Dan is sure trying to find out. This riff packed effort is only punctuated by Charity muttering, “showoff” at the tastiest section of auditory delight. Charity, if this kind of showing off is wrong, then we don’t want him to be right.
I know air-guitaring gets all the press but if this record doesn’t have you air-pianoing at some point then you’re probably doing it wrong.
The ninth track, Child of God, is a completely original song written by Charity’s husband Ryan. Marry me Charity!!! (Oh wait, she did). I’ll just say, with no bias whatsoever, that this may in fact be the greatest song ever written with mortal hands. With nothing to accurately compare it to in the known universe I’ll just warn you to not miss it. Dan’s background vocals come to the forefront on this track providing a beautiful duet feel alongside Charity.
Joking aside, if you are looking for a good “special” song for your Christmas service this may be an option.
In this day and age it would seem that Christmas carols are just not enough. Artists are constantly trying to put a “new twist” on them or writing extra elements to make them “better.”
How about a polka-dub-step version of O Holy Night, and we’ll write a new chorus so people will like it?
Long White Christmas is completely refreshing in its traditional approach. The melodies are familiar and comforting. The carols are straightforward. No extra fluff. Just talented artists walking into your living room and doing what they do best.
You can tell that this album was crafted with the idea that Christmas revolves around people coming together. And Charity and Dan are two people you should get together with this holiday season.
**Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review but, in full disclosure, I was hoping to score a make-out session with one of the artists. Fingers crossed it’s Charity.