A far stretch away from the bells and over-production more commonly on display at this time of year. Joe The Bluesman leans towards the likes of The Pogues with this single, yet maintaining the opening acoustic purity throughout the entire lifespan of the beautifully thoughtful and appreciative Christmas With You.
An acoustic guitar, a raw performance, a raspy and intimate vocal – everything about this recording speaks volumes on behalf of authenticity and realness.
Joe’s vocals sound beautiful, a little Dylan-like on occasion, a little Cohen-like at other times. There’s a softly shakey presentation to the whole thing, which works massively in its favour – the delivery makes it feel like an in-the-room performance, inviting and genuine. Furthermore, the lyrics walk the line cleverly between that which is detailed and personal to the artist, and that which is broadly accessible. Namely, the central idea – It’s so nice to spend Christmas with you – is a line that all of us can get behind. It stands out amidst the story, it welcomes you, it reminds you to be grateful.
At the same time, the song touches on the important things, the details, the historical context that created Christmas, and all of these intricacies help further that sense of realness and thought that has prompted Joe to write this song.
Beautifully done, refreshingly real, well performed, sweetly written – a release that goes ahead and achieves the seemingly possible; offers a Christmas hit that’s likable, yet nothing like its predecessors. A lovely and warming winter alternative.