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Another rock Christmas album you ask? Well of course. Does the world need another one? Well, only if you want to have one that offers a fresh yet familiar take on songs you love, and a few new ones thrown in.

I'll admit, when I first saw the notice for this release, I thought "Oh well, here comes another mediocre (at best) attempt at a hard rock Christmas. Honestly, for a brief moment the name didn't register with me when I thought that. Once it did, I said "OH! This is Tim Bushong!"

For those not as familiar with the name - a history lesson before we go further. Tim has been performing music since his high school days, but most notably for those in the Christian hard rockc market was his work with Lovewar. A one release band that faded into obscurity, but for those who gave their 1993 Soak Your Brain a serious listen, it became a favorite. I know it is still a majorly loved release in my collection. It even made it into the HM Magazine "Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time" list, where David Bach (Guardian) had this to say:

Hands down … the most underrated Christian rock band of all time. This record is sick! Tim Bushong is one of the great unsung music geniuses of Christian rock. —David Bach

He went on to work with The Channel Surfers before making the change in the year 2000, when he became most comfortable on the other side of the studio glass. He built and runs his own recording studio — T. Bush Recording, where he has been the man behind the big sound of bands like Bride, Grave Robber, and London Calling just to name a few. Be sure to check out info on bands he has worked with as well as played with by visiting his YouTube channel HERE.

Well, he may be producing and engineering most of the time, but the fingers still continue to fly across many instruments as he himself finds time to continue playing and recording, and that is how this Christmas album came about.

In 2010, Tim recording "O Holy Night" and each Christmas following he dabbled with recording additional tracks. The public at large (or at least those like me who grabbed the free releases) got a taste of those tracks as one of Tim's tracks appeared on each of the three Rottweiler Records releases Fleas Naughty Dog (1, 2, & 3). Two of those three tracks ended up on this new release by Tim.

Tim performed everything on this album, with the except of three songs that his son Aaron played drums on. The productions and musicianship sounds top-notch as he is known for, and his take on the songs is both traditional and yet original. The label tags the sound as "big, bad, strut-rock from the ’70s and ’80s" which is a fair assessment. I find this release at times to be reminiscent of the style, sound and quality often associated with some tracks by those Christmas rock heroes Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Yes, the songs still sound familiar, in that the lyrical melodies tend to stick to the traditional sound, but it is within the underlying music that we find many surprises that set this apart. Extra riffs, leads, and just the cool musical liberties he takes ends up bringing these songs to life in a brand new way. You get eleven tracks, eight of which are traditional Christmas or hymns, two original ones (Skating & Santa Claus Won't Come This Year), and a bonus non-Christmas "political" track (The Ballad of John Roberts).

  • O Holy Night

  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel

  • Joy To The World

  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

  • Do You Hear What I Hear?

  • Skating

  • What Child Is This

  • Santa Claus Won’t Come This Year

  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

  • BONUS: The Ballad Of John Roberts

What Child Is This is typically a slow, emotionally driven track, but here it is brought to life as a very upbeat rocker. I really love this rendition.

While a couple of the tracks stray from the typical rock feel of the majority of tracks, it does not really diminish from the overall power of this release. For instance, Santa Claus Won't Come This Year is a fun lovin', pickin' and a grinnin' country styled track with a flair similar to Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer; a real toe tapping fun song. The Ballad of John Roberts, while having an underlying blues rock feel, has vocal stylings that feel of an Irish drunk bar-brawling crowd sing-along song — with quite interesting lyrical content as is probably evident by the title.

I was going to mention the stand out favorites songs I find here, but as I re-sampled each, I found it might be easier to list the least favorite. Then I re-sampled and found there weren't any. I really enjoy each song for different reasons, whether it be the powerful arrangement of a mellow classic, or just the superb musicianship and added flash found throughout. Overall, a solid release that was a very pleasant surprise and gives me a new release to put at the top of my Christmas playlist. Grab a copy today!

Psst — now Tim, let's talk about some remastered issues of some Rox Sedan tracks.

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