12 Days Of xMas Music: Day 4

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Martin Sexton – Camp Holiday

Camp Holiday is Martin Sexton’s xMas album from 2005. Another New England based acoustic singer-songwriter, he and Chris Trapper fall into the if-you-like-one-you’ll-probably-like-the-other scoop of pop/rock. Not that their songs sound like one another’s, but they swim with the same school of fish.
Unlike Trapper’s all-original collection, Sexton decides to take on a dozen standards and make them his own. The usual suspects are all here: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “White Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and the like. He has a great version of “Auld Lang Syne” here, along with the one original on the album, “Welcome To The Camp” which, for my money, should have been the opening cut.
I also enjoy his version of “Little Drummer Boy,” a holiday song I’ve not generally cared for since I was a young boy. This version doesn’t contain any actual drums, interestingly enough, and is more engaging for their absence. Likewise, “Silent Night,” another carol that has never really appealed to me. Here, Martin brings in a couple of guest stars to assist with the vocals and it makes for a fine sounding arrangement.
There’s nothing earth-shattering about any of these versions; they’re just a nice collection of holiday songs performed quietly on acoustic guitar, with some pleasant guest vocals and vocal harmonies from time to time. The title Camp Holiday is appropriate as the album really does feel like sitting around a campfire or back porch with friends and family, someone playing guitar and others joining in singing from time to time when they know the words.
The album closes with a very pretty, very short a cappella version of “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” just Martin’s voice ringing out on its own. It’s a fitting final number and this disc is a worthwhile addition to any holiday music collection.
Tune in for tomorrow for the next installment in the 12 Days Of xMas Music.

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Until next time, keep those discs spinning. Merry Christmas and all the rest…

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