Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Let There Be Joy
Cathy Oakes
Cover image of the album Let There Be Joy by Cathy Oakes
Let There Be Joy
Cathy Oakes
2012 / Sierra Keys Music
51 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Let There Be Joy, the second solo piano release from Cathy Oakes, is a warm and gentle collection of thirteen traditional and original Christmas carols, several of which are grouped into medleys. From the charming cover artwork that features The Oakes’ fireplace and two dogs, to the heartfelt arrangements of the songs, everything about this album is a very personal sharing of holiday traditions. Like her first album, Like a Song, Let There Be Joy was recorded at Joe Bongiorno’s Piano Haven Studio, assuring that the piano sound is exceptional. Cathy Oakes is the pastor of three churches in west Tennessee, spent more than twenty years in music ministry, and has taught piano and voice for almost thirty years. Although she has been a musician for many years, she only recently started composing her own music. She says that once opened the gate, the music just keeps coming. Lucky us!!!

Let There Be Joy begins with a rousing arrangement of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” paired with a lovely version of “The First Noel” - a great start! “Pastorale Noel” is an original piece based on a chord progression by Greg Bostock. The simple melody overflows with tender emotion and grace - one of my favorites! The title song is a medley of “Joy to the World,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and “Let There Be Joy.” I really like this one, too! “Shepherds’ Song” is a slow and very peaceful combination of “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night” and “Silent Night” - elegant in its simplicity. “Stars Over Bethlehem,” an original, was composed while imagining the peace and stillness of the star-filled skies on the night Jesus was born - simply lovely! “First Embrace” is another beautiful original, this time a reflection on the love, wonder, and awe a mother feels when she first holds her newborn child - pure love and tenderness set to music! “Lullaby For a King” is my favorite track. Poignant and deeply emotional, it wonders if Mary had any idea of what was going to come in the life of her baby. Gorgeous! I hope sheet music is coming for this one! “Christmas Past” comes from a very personal place, telling of letting go of old family Christmas traditions so that new ones can evolve with the many changes life brings to us all. Deeply emotional and graceful, it’s another favorite! “Winter Wonderland” is one of Cathy Oakes’ favorite carols, and her arrangement overflows with joy and playful fun.

Cathy Oakes is off to a great start with her recording career! I can’t wait to hear what she has in store for us next! Let There Be Joy is available from cathyoakessolopiano.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
November 4, 2012
This review has been tagged as:
Holiday Albums