Christmas in Diverse City
On his first full-length holiday project, TobyMac shares the mic with a host of bandmates and special guests. Christmas in Diverse City adheres to the former dc Talk member’s overall sound by combing pop energy with a solid grasp of hip-hop groovesmanship. “Christmas This Year” (first released in 2010) sets the tone by matching Toby’s crowd-rousing performances on the verses with Leigh Nash’s winsome vocals on the bridge. An electronica-tinged “The First Noel” (featuring Owl City’s Adam Young) and a Latin-flavored “O Come, All Ye Faithful” offer fresh takes on classic hymns. Rising singer/songwriter Jamie Grace stops by to lend an acoustic shuffle feel to “Mary’s Boy Child,” while “Little Drummer Boy” gains impact from dynamic percussion and soaring choir vocals. The members of the Diverse City band each get their own highlighted track, with Maj’s rap/gospel rendition of “Carol of the Kings” and Nirva Ready’s warmly tender take on “Angels We Have Heard on High” standing out for their creativity and charm.