The very title of his 2003 Christmas CD, Santamental, immediately tips Steve Lukather’s cards so you know he's not dealing from the same deck as dear old dad. The picture of Lukather in a straightjacket with Christmas lights wrapped around him on the CD sleeve only reinforces that message. The best part about this CD, Lukather brought some of his “friends” over to “play.” Friends like Eddie Van Halen (on Joy to the World), Edgar Winter (on Greensleeves and Winter Wonderland), Steve Vai (on Carol of the Bells) and Michael Landau (on Look Out for Angels) augment and complement Lukather’s vocal and guitar stylings throughout the CD.
If you’re looking for a “safe” Christmas CD, reminiscent of Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole, you really ought to keep looking—you won’t find that on this CD… Well, that’s not entirely true. Lukather does an amusing “duet” with the late Sammy Davis Jr. on the Christmas classic, Jingle Bells.
Lukather seamlessly shifts from instrumental to vocal tracks showing off his guitar chops on songs like Angels We Have Heard On High and Silent Night and his raspy vocals on Broken Heart for Christmas, Look Out For Angels and Winter Wonderland.
What makes this such a stand-out Christmas CD is that Steve Lukather is able to take each of these songs and make them his very own. While the songs are still recognizable as Christmas songs, they have an extra chutzpah (okay, so maybe “chutzpah” is a word better reserved for a Hanukah CD) that also makes them distinctly Lukather songs.