Christmas albums are an important rite of passage for any established artist. After more than a decade of gospel hits, the Dove & Stellar award winning, Grammy nominated women of Trin-i-tee 5:7 release their first holiday offering Love, Peace, Joy At Christmas. The stylish and sultry set has already notched the #4 position on Billboard’s Gospel charts.
One might almost balk at the just under 35 minute running time, but wait! There’s more! Love, Peace, Joy gets the special boost of being released as a Dual Disc! The DVD side includes beautiful live footage of the girls performing traditional Christmas songs in Gospel Music Channel’s Christmas at Union Station special.
The ladies open with a heartwarming cover of The Jackson 5’s “Give Love on Christmas Day.” Angel Taylor keeps it faithful with her leads, at times even sounding like young Michael himself. Adding to well executed versions by Vickie Winans, Twila Paris, and others, T57 now have their stamp on the Mark Lowry-penned modern classic “Mary Did You Know.”
One of the most pleasant entries is their studio take on “White Christmas.” The perennial tale of winter is contrasted by the girls’ warm and up-front vocals that circle around and envelop the listener like swaddling clothes. Chanelle Hayes even throws a few flecks of scat into her lead vocal for good measure.
“O Holy Night” is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Their live rendition stays true to the original, but never gets boring as the lead vocal bounces from member to member. Adrian Anderson’s voice absolutely tingles with youth as she coyly sings, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
“Joy To The World” triumphantly announces itself with bold tribal drums at the forefront and subtle touches of world music throughout. Halfway through, it picks up energy and becomes the standout on the album. Even with a reverb-recessed electric guitar solo, it never goes over the top.
The biggest surprise on the album is “Welcome to Our World,” a dulcet lullaby greeting the newborn Christ child . Because of the unfamiliar title, one would guess this is an original song. In fact, it is well traveled in the realm of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Songs that become popular in CCM rarely gain high awareness, but if it wasn’t for such crossovers, gospel music would not have songs like Donnie McClurkin’s “We Fall Down” which was originated by Bob Carlisle.
“Welcome To Our World,” written by Chris Rice, first appeared in 1997 on Rice’s Deep Enough To Dream album, and then again on Michael W. Smith’s Christmastime (1998) and Amy Grant’s Christmas To Remember (1999). Trin-i-tee does an excellent job of introducing the song to the gospel music world without eclipsing the simplicity of its lyrics:
“Fragile finger sent to heal us, tender brow prepared for thorn, tiny heart whose blood will save us, unto us is born… So wrap our injured flesh around You, breathe our air and walk our sod, Rob our sin and make us holy, perfect son of God.”
Once Angel, Adrian, and Chanelle have said their peace, they call in Music World Music labelmate Brian Courtney Wilson to offer the bonus track “This Christmas.” Trin-i-tee’s live rendition of the Donny Hathaway holiday standard can also be found on the DVD portion of the album. [For another treat, also check out Brian Courtney Wilson’s full length album Just Love featuring the singles “All I Need” and “Already Here.”]
One of the best things about Christmas albums is that even people who don’t care much for Jesus take time to lean in close and hear songs about the savior’s birth. T57 makes good use of this opportunity by featuring accessible Christmas classics right alongside reverent Christ-centric tunes that detail what the season is really all about.
Trin-i-tee 5:7’s Love, Peace, Joy at Christmas was released October 26, 2009 and is available in stores and online everywhere! You can keep up with the latest T57 news by following @trinitee57fans on Twitter or visiting their official website www.trinitee57.com.