Review: Lauren Daigle – Behold

laurendaigle“Timeless” is a term that gets thrown around perhaps a bit too much when discussing the arts but sometimes there’s just no other adjective in the thesaurus that works. And so it is with the release of rising star Lauren Daigle’s first Christmas outing, Behold, which truly is timeless. With a sound that redirects from her usual pop radio format, Daigle channels her inner Norah Jones and Diana Krall to deliver a set of holiday favorites that is just as good today as it will be in twenty years.

Daigle draws from a jazz-flavored palette here, coloring in these Christmas classics and lone original with smooth piano, soulful guitar fills, and just the right amount of brass that takes things to the next level. The album opens with a jitterbug of “Jingle Bells,” the shuffling arrangement energized with bouncing upright bass and great horn work while “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas” is warm and toasty with its brushed drums and tinkling keys. Likewise, a jaunty arrangement of “What Child Is This” features some swell New Orleans style trumpet work but highlights Daigle’s amazing vocals, her dusky tones perfectly attuned to this style.

Yuletide favorite “White Christmas” gets a percussive lift, giving it toe tapping feel before the sparsely rendered “O Come All Ye Faithful” steps in, the horns almost evoking a bagpipe-like effect that contrasts solidly against Daigle’s emotive voice. A reworking of a Daigle original, “Light of the World,” is given the jazz treatment as well but still sounds the most contemporary of this bunch while the artist’s take on “Christmas Time Is Here” sounds like it was written for her voice, the Vince Guaraldi favorite a perfect fit for her talents.

Daigle’s vocals are front and center on a sparsely filled “O Holy Night,” the quiet arrangement crafting a sacred vibe that the artist uses to its full advantage, her passion evident through each note. “Little Drummer Boy” draws it’s percussive tone from a restless guitar line, which gives an interesting contrast and does something different than might be expected and eventually emerges into a killer jazz breakdown, while Daigle brings the record to a close with a smooth and smoky cover of “Silent Night.”

Lauren Daigle is one of the brightest voices to come along in some time and here on Behold, she shows us why. Shifting her style and crafting an album that truly is timeless, Daigle has given her listeners an early Christmas gift and it’s one that will keep on giving for years to come.

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