Amy Grant’s first Christmas album, aptly titled, A Christmas Album, is commemorating its 35th anniversary this year, and whether you’re a longtime fan or have never heard this album before, this is definitely worth taking a look back.
As should be with any Christmas album, this is full of warmth. You just feel warm, snug, cozy and content the moment the needle hits the vinyl–even when the poppy, synth-laden songs come on, like the instrumental “Preiset Dem Konig,” as well as “Love Has Come,” “Emmanuel” and a contemporary rendition of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” For those of us who were youngsters at that time, it was exciting to hear those pop songs added in (and perhaps a little disappointed that there weren’t more). But we did also enjoy hearing the traditional Christmas songs, mostly because they weren’t sung by just anyone, but by Amy Grant.
In addition to the traditional and pop mix, the adult contemporary album opener and original track, “Tennessee Christmas,” was as warm and inviting as any traditional Christmas song on this album, and became probably the first launch for Amy’s crossover career, which was just beginning at that time. In fact, NBC aired a TV special (three years later) after she started to gain success in the secular music charts with her Unguarded album. The special primarily included songs from this album and starred herself with then-husband Gary Chapman as well as Art Garfunkel, Dennis Weaver, and Ed Begley Jr.
For many of us who had this on cassette, it was worn out to nearly nothing as we traveled to and fro from the various holiday shopping, festivals and church gatherings during the remainder of the 1980s Christmas seasons, making this an album that many of us truly grew up with. And of course, hearing these songs 35 years later still brings back the tender memories of those people and events of that time.
For anyone looking for a great start to their classic CCM Christmas collection, the Amy Grant Christmas albums are the best place to start.