Ten out of Tenn: Christmas

Even in the low-key, relatively low-ego world of singer/songwriters, artistic alliances tend to implode as quickly as they come together – just ask fans of the Thorns and Little Village – which is just one of the refreshing elements of Ten out of Tenn, the loose collective started by Trent and Kristen Dabbs in 2004. Over the last four years – plenty of time for egos to flare and fragile artistic pride to bruise – the Ten have toured steadily, released a pair of compilations, and now introduce Christmas, a disc that is exactly what it sounds like: 10 seasonal tracks from Ten out of Tenn members. Six of the 10 are originals, and they’re all surprisingly strong; the best of the bunch might be Andy Davis’ “Christmas Time,” but really, there isn’t a bum note on the disc, and even the traditional numbers are handled with aplomb – you may have already heard “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” more times than you care to count, but they’re delivered here with just the right combination of reverence and flair, by Griffin House and Katie Herzig, respectively. If your tastes run to the sensitive acoustic end of the spectrum, and you’re looking to beef up your holiday playlist, purchase Ten out of Tenn Christmas without delay – it’ll be a disc worth pulling out the day after every Thanksgiving and enjoying until the final strains of “Auld Lang Syne” fade in Times Square. Listening to it during the other 11 months of the year is another story, but that’s par for the course with these albums, isn’t it? (Ten out of Tenn 2008)

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