Very Merry Christmas (Bonus Track Version)
Dave Barnes blends holiday romance with a splash of nostalgia and a touch of reverence on Very Merry Christmas. The Mississippi-bred singer/songwriter’s soulful style fits comfortably with the mix of new material and familiar favorites included here. For the traditionalists, Barnes offers slow-burning renditions of “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and “The Christmas Song,” as well as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” The real core of the album, though, is a batch of Barnes originals that explore the same interconnected themes of love, home and faith that have defined his previous releases. The title track rekindles the glow of family memories as its simmers to a Memphis groove. Barnes turns on his Southern charm in “Meet Me At the Mistletoe” (a flirtation tune perfect for holiday parties) and “Christmas Tonight” (a duet with Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott in the style of the standard “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”). Whatever the topic, Barnes brings an intimate touch to the music that raises the album above typical yuletide fare.