Review: Canton Junction – A Canton Christmas

cantonjunctionIt’s shaping up to be a great Christmas music season and the latest addition from Texas-based Canton Junction, A Canton Christmas, keeps the flow going with their great blend of southern gospel, Texas swing, and country. With their great harmonies, Matt Hagee (tenor), Tim Duncan (bass), Casey Rivers (lead), and Ryan Seaton (baritone) have created a holiday listening experience that makes the most of their considerable talents and will have fans pressing repeat more than once this Christmas season.

The album kicks things off in a big, bold way with a bright rendering of “Joy to The World,” the group’s powerful voices blending soulfully against swells of steel and electric guitar, setting the tone early. Those same powerful harmonies continue on the minor chords of “We Three Kings,” a ripple of warm piano and strings fueling the track while the members trade off on vocals while “A Big Ole Texas Christmas” brings things right back to the boys’ backyard with swinging guitars, smooth fiddle fills, and plenty of nostalgic images.

Tim Duncan takes the lead on the warmhearted “Christmas Can’t Be Very Far Away,” his rich, deep tones so powerfully reminiscent of the late George Younce, as the group’s take on “Angels We Have Heard On High” sweeps in with joyous energy and rippling banjo notes. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” builds on a similar foundation, the joy evident throughout the upbeat, ‘countrified’ arrangement while their take on “The First Noel” draws on some emotional notes with its slightly slowed down tempo and swirling strings.

Fans looking for that signature Canton Junction sound need look no further than “Glory to God In the Highest,” which is a great Christmas anthem, pointing to the joy of the Savior through soaring vocals, complete with a choir backing. Equally poignant is the group’s take on the longtime classic, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” whose contrast of a group of children’s voices against that of guest vocalist John Hagee lends the track a timeless quality, highlighting the desire for peace from young to old and everyone in between. Returning to the traditional, the collective closes out the album with a medley of “Silent Night/Away In a Manger,” the familiar lyrics washing over listeners with ripples of nostalgia and worship, ending things on a warm, heartfelt note.

Canton Junction is one of the hottest groups performing these days and, here, on their first Christmas outing, they show that they aren’t letting up for anyone. Incorporating their signature Texas gospel sound together with the great songs of the season, A Canton Christmas is one that listeners will find themselves going back to again and again.

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