PAUL BALOCHE : Christmas Worship Vol. 1 (Integrity : B00FPO611S)
This album was actually released back in 2013 and has since seen the release of a follow up, Christmas Worship 2 in 2015. Most of the songs are written by Paul, with homages to Christmas classics contained within. For instance, “Angels We have Heard on High (Deo)” features the Gloria chorus from “Ding Dong Merrily on High”. However there are also contributions from other artists such as Kathryn Scott, who co-wrote “This is Love” and also sings it with Paul as a duet. There are also some “Christmas Versions” of previously released songs such as “Your Name” and “What Can I Do”. These work well enough, although I’m not sure I entirely like the idea of re-writing existing songs just for Christmas. My favourite is “Follow that Star” as it has an edge to it that I would normally associate with an artist like Paul. There’s also a good rendition of “O Come O Come Emmanuel”, a song that’s always ripe for experimentation and creativity. There is some great acoustic guitar work on the album and some clever integration of old and new however, the album is a little bit flat for me. The songs mentioned aside, the remainder do sound a little generic and feel like they are fitting a stereotype of what a Christmas song should sound like rather than aiming for something creatively different. It’s that “edge” I mentioned earlier. I kind of hoped it would present itself more frequently, but it doesn’t, so I can’t help but feel it’s a bit of an opportunity missed. 6/10 Robin Thompson.