Monday, October 17, 2011

Keith and Kristyn Getty: Joy Review


You know them as the writers of the popular “In Christ Alone” modern-day hymn, but now the Irish couple returns with a Christmas album! Titled, Joy: An Irish Christmas, the upbeat, Celtic album draws inspiration from Keith and Kristyn’s new role as parents and realizing just how much Jesus’ first cry changed the world. The Getty’s deliver a wonderful twelve-track Christmas album complete with several all-new carols, plus a few well-known and not-so-well-known carols.

The highly upbeat “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is immediately a sensation for its Celtic core and pounding drums that mix perfectly with Kristyn’s amazing vocals to make one of the best renditions I’ve heard of this carol yet! “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” follows along the same note, though a little less upbeat. Backing vocals definitely add a ton to this nice cover.


“What Child is This?” first begins with weak guitar picking, but the outstanding Celtic sound comes into play after a short instrumental. Following, the slower, but heavenly “Magnificat” is based on Mary’s exaltation in Luke chapter 1, after which comes “How Suddenly A Baby Cries,” an all-new Christmas hymn. Putting the Christmas story into words perfectly, we are encouraged to ponder just how much Jesus changed the world through His first cry, and the beauty of it all. It also builds perfectly, going through the accounts we read from the first two chapters of Luke.

And while “Joy Has Dawned” was originally written as a hymn on the Apostle’s Creed, the Getty’s combined it with “Angels We Have Heard On High” which proved to work well. And, featuring an Irish children’s choir, “Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven” is a mostly piano-based track, speaking of how Jesus came to earth just like any of us, and is a prayer that we will be made like a child through His free gift – a very timeless track.

Keith & Kristyn Getty’s rendition of “Carol of the Bells” was very welcome, but interestingly, is perhaps the first rendition of this track I have heard to not use bells! Kristyn’s angelic vocals certainly made up for it though, after which comes a hymn written in the sixth century, “O Savior of Our Fallen Race,” more of a prayer of longing for His return than contemplating His birth. Composed mostly of strings and Kristyn’s soaring vocals, this carol is very moving and actually a bit emotional because of that.

Based on John 1, it seems only natural that “Fullness of Grace” opens up with Kristyn reading a portion of it, in a hymn that sounds much like Sandi Patty’s renowned “Via Dolorosa.” The extremely strong, Celtic-flavored “Joy to the World” follows, prepping the way for the ending track, “An Irish Christmas Blessing,” closing the album with a prayer for peace, hope, love, and joy for the listener.

There are plenty of Christmas albums you could add to your collection, but Keith & Kristyn Getty’s Joy: An Irish Christmas is a fabulous one. The Celtic-flavored carols are a definite enjoyment, making for some of the best renditions of beloved carols you will ever hear; and you will also be delighted with the all-new hymns delivered by this Irish couple.

Rating: 3.5/5
Release date: October 18, 2011

Track listing:
1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
3. What Child is This?
4. Magnificat
5. How Suddenly A Baby Cries
6. Joy Has Dawned/Angels We Have Heard on High
7. Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven
8. Carol of the Bells
9. O Savior of Our Fallen Race
10. Fullness of Grace
11. Joy to the World
12. An Irish Christmas Blessing

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to hearing this Christmas album. I heard a clip of one of the songs and it was real good. I am sure the rest of the songs are real good. It will be on my Christmas list for this Christmas.

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