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Album Review: Acoustic Christmas
Camille Nelson
Cover image of the album Acoustic Christmas by Camille Nelson
Acoustic Christmas
Camille Nelson
2020 / Camille Nelson
42 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Acoustic Christmas is a collection of eleven Christmas songs arranged and performed by Camille Nelson. Five of the songs are vocals with guitar and the other six are acoustic guitar instrumentals. Guest artists include Yahosh Bonner, KORA, Britney Holman, Kimberly Knighton, Marj Desius and Cardin Mckinney. Created using a blend of folk, classical and new age styles, the music on Acoustic Christmas is relaxed, expressive and reverent (no Santa songs!).

Camille Nelson is a multi-instrumentalist who has worked in the music industry for more than fifteen years; Acoustic Christmas is her fourth album. Her second album, Lead Me Home (2017) on the Stone Angel Music label, was named Best Christian Album in the 2018 IMEA Awards.

Acoustic Christmas begins with a solo guitar arrangement of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” that feels like an expansive, joyful call to worship - a beautiful opening! “Joy to the World” is also a guitar solo. Camille is truly a master of her instrument, as some of the passages sound like several guitars playing together (without being flashy). A quiet expression of heartfelt joy, the song overflows with warmth. “Little Drummer Boy” features soulful vocals by Yahosh Bonner accompanied by Camille and her guitar - a humble but very soulful and effective arrangement. “Wexford Carol” has become a popular instrumental carol over the past several years. It has lyrics, but the haunting melody is especially well-suited to instrumental arrangements. It originated in Ireland and is apparently one of the oldest Christmas carols - Camille’s arrangement is simple and very beautiful. “Still, Still, Still” is a vocal duet with KORA with a simple guitar accompaniment - haunting and very peaceful. “Once in Royal David’s City,” a guitar solo, has phrases of “Il est ne, le divin enfant” interwoven throughout the song. “More Holiness Give Me” is a carol I wasn’t familiar with. Written in 1873 by Philip Bliss, this version is a gorgeous trio that features Kimberly Knighton and Britney Holman. “O Holy Night” features Marj Desius singing the lyrics in both English and French with a gentle guitar background - one of the best arrangements of this song I’ve heard in a while. “Silent Night” is the most-performed Christmas song ever written, so making it fresh and new can be a real challenge. Camille has succeeded well in making it her own, and her guitar solo is perfect.

Acoustic Christmas would be a lovely addition to anyone’s collection of Christmas music. The arrangements are refreshing yet not “too” different, with a nice, relaxing pace to soothe away some of the stress of the season. It is available as a CD, a download and for streaming on www.CamilleNelson.com, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites like Spotify.
December 9, 2020