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Laurie Berkner - A Laurie Berkner Christmas

Christmas with Laurie Berkner!

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Laurie Berkner - A Laurie Berkner Christmas

Laurie Berkner - A Laurie Berkner Christmas

Courtesy Two Tomatoes Records / Razor & Tie
Laurie Berkner hits the holiday highlights with several of the most famous and popular Christmas tunes out there. A Laurie Berkner Christmas finds the kids' music star performing her versions of holiday tunes with the help of fellow children's music artists Elizabeth Mitchell and Brady Rymer. A nice addition to our list of new Christmas music for kids.

The Artist

Princeton-born Laurie Berkner released her kids' music debut Whaddaya Think of That? in 1997, available only as a cassette at the time. With the 1998 release of her second set of songs for kids, Buzz Buzz, Berkner formed her own record company, Two Tomatoes Records. The follow up, 1999's Victor Vito, became a huge success and led to Berkner's first national TV appearance on the FX Network's American Baby Show. Victor Vito won a Parents' Guide to Children's Media Award and two Children's Music Web Awards.

Berkner's fourth CD, Under a Shady Tree, was released in 2002 and garnered her even more awards, rave reviews, and commercial success. The album won a N.A.P.P.A. Gold Award, a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award, a Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award, a Children's Music Web Award, an iParenting Media Award, and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. Berkner returned to the record charts the summer of 2008 with her first CD in six years. Rocketship Run was released by Two Tomatoes Records and distributed by Razor & Tie Entertainment in August, and, for the first time on a Berkner album, features collaborations with bandmates Susie Lampert and Adam Bernstein.

The Music of 'A Laurie Berkner Christmas'

Berkner invited several guest stars from the kids' music constellations to help out on A Laurie Berkner Christmas, including Elizabeth Mitchell and Brady Rymer. Of course she's joined by her long-time bandmates Susie Lampert on keyboards, Adam Bernstein on bass, and Bob Golden on drums. Most of the songs on A Laurie Berkner Christmas are traditional tunes, but Berkner tries her hand at holiday musical compositions and delivers "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight," "Candy Cane Jane," and "Christmas Lights."

A Laurie Berkner Christmas begins with a spirited, finger-snapping rendition of "Jingle Bells," with a little "Bo Diddley" beat thrown in. Berkner's own "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight" describes the anticipation of Christmas gifts in the morning, sounding a little like a tune Barenaked Ladies would perform. "Little Drummer Boy" gets a straight ahead, four beat rock treatment, while the waltzing "I Saw Three Ships" stays pretty close to the original version and features Brady Rymer's mandolin. Berkner's own jaunty "Candy Cane Jane" could fit in nicely on an episode of Sesame Street with its instrumentation, imagery, and boundless cheer. The classic "Do You Hear What I Hear?" gets a smoothed out, easy listening treatment, while the spirited "Children Go Where I Send Thee" features Brady Rymer's vocals and bass, and has a great "'round the campfire" feel.

More Music from 'A Laurie Berkner Christmas'

The simple arrangement of "Silent Night" features Susie Lampert's piano and Elizabeth Mitchell's sweet vocals, while Berkner's brief composition "Christmas Lights" includes nice sing-along sections that will translate successfully to live performances. The traditional "Christmas is Coming" gets a pop music treatment, sounding like a Carole King tune and featuring a chorus in rounds, while "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is presented in its standard, well-known arrangement. "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" features Brady Rymer's mandolin and bass guitar, and "Frosty the Snowman" is given a pretty standard treatment with a slight reggae flavoring. A Laurie Berkner Christmas concludes with an uncluttered arrangement of "White Christmas" that features only Berkner's vocals and acoustic guitar, and with a brief a cappella group performance of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" that brings back everyone who performed on the album.

The Verdict

A Laurie Berkner Christmas will no doubt thrill fans of Laurie Berkner, and the album will make a nice little addition to collectors of Christmas music for kids. Although hard-core Berknerheads are eagerly awaiting new music by the less-than-prolific kids' music star, A Laurie Berkner Christmas will do just nicely in the meantime.

Released October 30, 2012; Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie

Track Listing

  1. "Jingle Bells"
  2. "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight"
  3. "The Little Drummer Boy"
  4. "I Saw Three Ships"
  5. "Candy Cane Jane"
  6. "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
  7. "Children Go Where I Send Thee"
  8. "Silent Night"
  9. "Christmas Lights"
  10. "Christmas is Coming"
  11. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
  12. "Jolly Old St. Nicholas"
  13. "Frosty the Snowman"
  14. "White Christmas"
  15. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
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