Christmas: The Story of Stories
by Lando Klassen
For the last 41 Christmas seasons I have enjoyed connecting people with great music. It is always interesting to see what blend of traditional carols and new songs are offered. I am so pleased that Carolyn Arends has nine new, refreshing and creative songs along with three familiar ones on her latest project Christmas: The Story of Stories.
From the first song comes the lines: “I bet you Joseph didn’t have a clue/ What to do/ He was new at fatherhood.” From the second song comes: “There is a vacancy right here inside of me/ It’s been that way for quite awhile/ But there’s a blessedness in this great emptiness/ If it makes room here for the child.”
From “Long Way to Go” are the thought provoking lines: “People say that love has limits/ People just don’t know /How far the love that came at Christmas/ is prepared to go.”
Innovative lines like these abound on this extraordinary project.
Then there’s the instrumentation. Quite exceptional actually, acoustic guitar-based with ample mandolin and violin on most cuts, with just the right placement of bass, cello, organ and a host of other musical sounds. The arrangements are remarkably woven together and the blend of the voices and the nuances of the instruments are truly enjoyable..
Finally from “Dawn on Us”: “What was he thinking in the starlight/ Did he have time to think at all/ A carpenter his whole life/ now he was a midwife….Did it dawn on him/at the moment when/morning chased the night away/ Did it dawn on him/this was God with him/In the light of Christmas Day.”
I’m giving this disc a resounding 8.5 /10. And if you pick up a physical copy you’ll be sure to hear it all.
Carolyn Arends has released 10 albums and is the author of two critically-acclaimed books. 15 of Arends’ songs have become top 10 radio singles on the Canadian pop and US Christian charts. Arends has earned two Dove Awards, three Juno Nominations, and was recognized as the West Coast Music Awards’ Songwriter of the Year. She graduated from Trinity Western University in Langley, BC with a
degree in psychology and English. She lives in Surrey, BC with her husband
Mark, son Ben, and daughter Bethany. In addition to her busy concert and speaking schedule, she teaches songwriting and performance courses at Pacific Life Bible College and writes a bi-monthly column for Christianity Today.