Christmas, Simply (Music Thoughts: The CHristmas Sessions, Ashley Davis with John Doyle)

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You want a Holiday album that’s sparse, less busy, not as demanding? Look no further than Ashley Davis and John Doyle’s “The Christmas Sessions.”  Davis and Doyle are big names in Celtic music, (I initially thought he was the Broadway director with the same name)  and here they do what they do best. Davis has a clear, no-frills voice, and she delivers the songs in the same manner. Doyle duets on guitar and mandola, and the pairing is terrific.  This is the album you listen to after everyone has gone to sleep and you want to take a break before going back to cooking that holiday dinner or wrapping more gifts. Classics such as “I’ll Be Hoem For Christmas,” and “White Christmas” are presented as almost a blank state, and you can feel the melancholy messages without the overkill. You can even interpret them in a sly hopeful vein. It is music that’s unfussy, and the message is delivered straight away. I like it a lot, especially the sparse arrangements that focus on the duet of voice and (one) instrument. Christmas should be as simple.

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