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Classic pipes, classic tunes

A Classic Christmas
A Classic Christmas
By Wynonna

Curb Records: 2006

This review first appeared in Turbula in December 2006.

Longtime fans of country superstar Wynonna Judd might not know what to make of her first solo Christmas album: There's nary a pedal steel guitar to be found. Instead, she's surrounded and backed by loads of strings and even oboe and English horn! "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" is given a lovely pop-jazz arrangement here, while "Ave Maria" is near-on classical in approach. On whole, it is far closer in style and tone to, say, Johnny Mathis or Al Jarreau than any of her earlier material.

But it is a Christmas record, and Wynonna may have the most gorgeous pipes of any country singer since Patsy Cline. Besides, her albums have never been pure country, but have always taken in huge swaths of pop, rock and blues.

And so hearing her wrap that voice of hers around 11 holiday standards ("Winter Wonderland," "Silent Night," etc.) is pretty pleasurable for anyone with a bent for the standard Christmas fare.