Phil Vassar puts together quite a little jazzy album with Noel. Vassar wrote or collaborated with other songwriters on half the songs on the album. The other half are Christmas standards. I like it when an artist does more than just sing their version of the songs that we all know. Props to Vassar for really putting the pen to paper on this album. More props may be coming because Vassar might quite possibly do something that hasn’t happened since Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’; adding another song to the Christmas canon.
The song that Vassar does this with is ‘Big Ol Texas Christmas.’ Written by Vassar, Jeff Smith and Billy Alcorn, and sung with Ray Benson, it’s a pretty simple song. Vassar and Benson sing along with the two-step style music about some of the simple pleasures of a Texas Christmas: brisket, chili-pepper lights, kids watching Rudolph on TV, while wishing everyone a “big ol Texas Christmas”:
From the north pole to down under/
Far east to way out west/
May your hearts be filled with wonder/
May your holidays be blessed/
To all of you, from all of us/
Have a big ol Texas Christmas
The simplicity of this song is genius. It has a classic feel and a quaint charm to it. You could listen to over and over again as well as sing along with it, which is what makes a Christmas classic a classic. Get this song on the radio because it’s destined to be a hit that’s played year after year should people get the opportunity to hear it. And it’s so good that they should.
Coming in a close second to adding to the Christmas canon list is ‘I Saved Christmas.’ It’s a rocking song about Santa appearing on Christmas Eve at the doorstep of a guy who comes from a “long line of fix-it men.” Santa’s looking for some help with his sled, which has broken down. What makes this song a stand-out is the jazzy way that it’s presented and the song’s story is exactly the type of thing that you would expect to be turned into a holiday-themed movie starring Tim Allen.
Where Vassar stands out himself, is on the more traditional songs. Vassar’s voice was made for singing the Gloria part for ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ He also does a good turn on ‘Merry Christmas Darling.’
The only thing that I found lacking in the album was CD Booklet. Vassar is another one of those very attractive men of country music. The goatee, the piercing eyes, his slightly stocky frame, makes him the kind of artist that you want to imagine meeting under the mistletoe. I was hoping for some photos of Vassar in red and green, maybe a Santa hat, sitting at the piano with his fine smile staring out at ya, but you get none of that. The four page booklet includes the cover, a playlist, thanks from Phil and back cover photo. I will admit that the back cover photo of the piano keys and Christmas ornament is a nice touch, but as an admirer of Phil—the man and the music—I would have liked to have seen more of him. This is the only downer in an album otherwise worthy of being on your Christmas list.