What A Way To Go Out! | Posted October 11, 2011 Staff Reviewer
In early May 2011, David Crowder Band stunned fans at the announcement that their time as a band would be coming to a close at the end of the year. Many thought they were joking, but the truth remained: after more than a decade together, their time as a band was complete. There was no dysfunction, no ugly ending--they said it's just time to move on to the next page of life.
Despite the shock, fans were excited to learn that although DC*B's time as a group was coming to an end, Christian music’s beloved sextet still had one more album up their sleeves and were in the studio crafting it. Well, that was the way it was supposed to go, anyway.
“Back in January we decided to start working on a record “ David Crowder said. “It was to be a final masterpiece, our last statement, if you will. But we got sidetracked, and we made a Christmas album instead.”
It was that simple. Two albums for the price of one, and listeners weren’t complaining.
Oh For Joy not only showcases their version of some of the finest Christmas songs ever written, but does so in true David Crowder Band fashion: wacky, wonderful and worshipful.
“Joy To The World” sets the tone by starting this album off on a electric and melodic note, a style the Crowder Band has mastered in these last several years. A simple and jingly “The First Noel” goes back to the band's worship leading roots, and will no doubt get you singing at the top of your lungs,
“Go, Tell It On The Mountain,” easily one of the most underrated Christmas carols of our time, make a vibrant and beautiful appearance on this record. Breathy with the slightest hint of a country twang, this band takes this song and completely makes it their own.
One of the best aspects of David Crowder Band’s live show these many years has been their infamous hoedown, complete with a banjo and fiddle. So it’s no surprise that the hoedown would somehow make its way unto their Christmas record. “Angels We Have Heard On High” becomes a Southern dream in the hands of DC*B, and still manages to keep its worship-minded focus.
A chilling and acoustic version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” takes the stage next and become hands down the most praise driven song on the record. Simple yet haunting, the arraignment alongside David’s vocals are sure to send a chill down your spine and usher into an unhindered moment of worship.
The next few tracks on the album take twist, becoming a live album of sorts. Recorded at the 2011 Passion Conference in Atlanta, the band’s renditions of “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night” bring a soft and calming feel to the listener. Something about the voices of thousands of people banning together to worship God never gets old. “Silent Night” however becomes a reflective moment with the inclusion of the lyric “it started so silent,” hinting to the listener that after His birth, the reality of the newborn Savior halted the world brief moment as time started moving again. It’s a powerful moment for the listener, and one that will make you think long beyond the song ends.
As amazing as this album as this is, the true standout track is the final song on the record. Another live Passion recording, the band puts their stamp on what has quickly become one of this generations most beloved holiday songs, Trans Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol Of The Bells / Christmas in Sarajevo.” The song starts off with a brief introduction from David, stating that Christmas doesn’t technically end till Epiphany on Jan. 6. Spoken in a way only he could master, the intro leads directly into one of the best versions of this song I’ve heard since the Orchestra recorded it themselves. Dare I say, this version might even be better. If there ever was ever a way to end a Christmas album with a bang, this would be it.
This is an extremely bittersweet album. Bitter in knowing this will be one of their final projects as a band, but far more sweet in knowing it was a true labor of love, and something they all came together and made, not only for fans, but more over, for the glory of God. Sometimes minimal, sometimes complicated, this album just goes to show why fans of this band love them so much. That musical genius married with the timeless lyrics of these songs makes for an unforgettable record to say the very least.
No question, Oh For Joy is the must-own Christmas album of 2011. Quirky, playful, classic and downright brilliant, these songs will not only move you to worship, but offer you a bright and shining glimmer of hope, reminding you of the true reason why we celebrate Christmas. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this album, and that alone might be the only thing worth saying.