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Kristin Chenoweth – A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (Sony Classical)

Tony-winner Kristin Chenoweth’s first holiday collection, A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas, more than lives up to its title. Sweetly sung standards and novelty numbers alike fill this splendid album, making it this season’s must-own CD. Chenoweth’s charming vocal presence is more than a match for such time-tested material as “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “The Christmas Waltz” and “What Child Is This?” The effervescent singer even embraces her Oklahoma roots with such countrified entries as “Come On Ring Those Bells.” Her retooled renditions of the childhood staple “Sing” and “Sleep Well Little Children / What a Wonderful World” make for surprisingly touching musical moments. In fact, there is no low point on this effortlessly endearing recording.

A great gift for fans of musical theater or memorable holiday music, A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas is in stores now. For more artist information or to purchase a copy directly, go to kristin-chenoweth.com.

Enya – And Winter Came … (Reprise Records)

Enya’s ethereal voice and sound are unmistakable, and her new Christmas CD, And Winter Came…, is a 12-track collection of seasonal lullabies and lovely, Celtic-inspired arrangements sure to delight the legion of fans she’s amassed through the years. Whether performing traditional carols (“Oíche Chiúin”) or more modern works (“My! My! Time Flies”), Enya’s angelic harmonies and sweetly poetic lyrics and melodies do not disappoint, making for a festively entertaining listening experience. Most notable are the timeless “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the new selection “One Toy Soldier,” an endearing yuletide story song destined to become a treasured classic.

And Winter Came… is now in stores. Log on to Enya.com for more information.

Seal – Soul (Warner Bros. Records)

For his latest project, Soul, the incredibly talented Seal has selected a collection of classic R & B songs from such legendary artists as James Brown (“It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World), Sam Cooke (“A Change is Gonna Come”), Al Green (“Here I am [Come and Take Me">”), Curtis Mayfield (“People Get Ready”) and Otis Redding (“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”). No other artist today could pull off this feat nearly as successfully. Seal makes each song uniquely his own, and they sound as if they were written with him in mind. Equally as convincing on smooth soulful ballads or upbeat tracks, he more than owns this well-known material, breathing new life into every number, including the not-to-be-missed entries “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and the Funk-fortified “Knock On Wood.”

Don’t miss this excellent CD from an extraordinary artist, in stores now. Visit Seal.com for more information.

Hit Man: David Foster & Friends (143 / Reprise Records)

With 15 Grammy Awards and countless other nominations to his credit, David Foster could very well be called the King of Adult Contemporary, for good reason. Airing in December as part of the Great Performance series on PBS (check local listings for details), the exceptionally entertaining concert Hit Man: David Foster & Friends is now available as a two-disc, live CD/DVD set. Although the “highlight” CD does feature a respectable selection of the evening’s offerings, there are many egregious omissions, found only on the two-hour DVD. A stellar constellation of talent brings to life one great song after another from Foster’s illustrious career on the DVD, including standout appearances by Andrea Bocelli (“Amapola”), Michael Bublé (“Feeling Good”), Josh Groban (“Alla Luce Del Sole”), Renee Olstead (“Through The Fire”), Blake Shelton (“Wildflower”) and “American Idol” castoff Michael Johns (“She’s A Beauty / Man in Motion”).

An exceptional time capsule of talent, Hit Man: David Foster & Friends is in stores now. 0 .9,8m`1


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