Not widely known outside his native Canada, Quebecois vocalist and guitarist, Roch Voisine remains one of Canada’s better kept secrets. Voisine pays equal mind to both his French and English speaking audiences releasing albums in both languages.
On his Christmas is Calling album he remains true to form. His voice is soft and relaxing, like an old friend you haven’t seen or heard from in awhile which makes it ideal for a Christmas album.
On many tracks he finds himself backed up by a gospel choir giving them a little extra pep. In particular, Joy to the World and Silent Night both benefit from the addition of the choir.
While his arrangements don’t stray too far from the originals, he does still manage to put his own stamp on many of the Christmas season classics we’ve come to grow familiar with over the years.
The only real “surprise” on the CD is Voisine’s somber performance of John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over). Roch’s delivery and arrangement is relaxed and pleasant, and once again he finds himself backed up by a choir to augment the already enjoyable performance.
While there are no “clunkers” on the album, some songs certainly do stand out more than others. Many songs fall prey to the “repeat” button. I’ll Be Home For Christmas and The Christmas Song hearken back to simpler times when those songs were sung by the likes of Bing, Burl, Nat, Perry and others originally put there stamp on them. But perhaps the best tracks on the CD are O Holy Night—One of the best versions I’ve ever heard of my personal favorite Christmas song and What Child Is This—while not the best version I’ve ever heard of the song, it’s certainly one of the better.
From start to finish this is a CD that conjures cold snowy December days sipping cocoa, curled up by the fireplace. It doesn’t just sound like Christmas, it feels like Christmas.