Christmas Music Guide 2016


We at AGM are true lovers of the holiday gift-buying season and the wonderful Christian holiday of Christmas. And being fans of the holiday – we are therefore required to love all things Christmas music. We’re going to help you sift through all of this year’s holiday offerings, and hopefully you can find that one (or more if you so please) seasonal recording to make your holiday the best it possibly can be! These aren’t all Southern Gospel releases – but there may be a few here that you might find enjoyable as well!


triumphant-heischristmasTriumphant – He Is Christmas (StowTown Records)
For fans of: traditional Southern Gospel quartet music
Great to have on while: opening presents on the big day!

Triumphant is back with their latest holiday offering that offers up more of what you’ve grown to love from this core group of guys. Think traditional quartet with flares of a  younger Oak Ridge Boys particularly on cuts like “Thank God For Kids,” “Celebration Medley” and their updated version of “He Is,” which has been a fan-favorite of the group for years.

jmcbrayer-christmastimeJody McBrayer
 – Christmas Time (StowTown Records)
For fans of: big, full-voiced tenors like David Phelps and Michael O’Brien
Great to have on while: baking cookies with the family!

Former Avalon member and current tenor for Cana’s Voice, Jody McBrayer’s first solo Christmas recording has a lot to love. Jody’s impressive vocal range shines on cuts like “Imagine This Christmas,” the jazzed up version of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and oft-forgot “Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella.”


jhabedank-silentnightJoseph Habedank – Silent Night: Christmas for Quiet Reflection (Independent)
For fans of: quiet and reflective Christmas recordings and Joseph’s previous hymn recording
Great to have on while: reading your advent devotions!

Joseph’s debut solo Christmas recording is an eight-song release that features a more moody and reflective song selection that shows off his impressive vocals and range. If you like Habedank’s previous bare-bones approach of his hymn recording, you’ll love this one!


ww-simplychristmasWilburn & Wilburn – Simply Christmas (Independent)
For fans of: country and bluegrass flavored works of the Christmas season
Great to have on while: relaxing with the family in front of a cozy fire!

Wilburn & Wilburn’s first-ever Christmas recording finds the duo on familiar terrain from a musical standpoint. Fans of country-based Southern Gospel with bluegrass influences will find a lot to like on this recording, particularly their memorable covers of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” and “Christmas Time’s a Coming.”


agrant-tennesseechristmasAmy Grant – Tennessee Christmas (Capitol Christian Music Group)
For fans of: moody Christmas music from popular Christian artists
Great to have on while: taking your sweetheart out on a Christmas date!

Amy Grant has released three previous Christmas recordings, a couple of which are deemed classics now in the Christian music world. While Tennessee Christmas is a nice-enough release, it doesn’t quite live up to the fan fair or her previous works or evoke the nostalgia as the others did so well. The tone can stray a big too far to melancholy for some looking for a very festive outing from Mrs. Grant.


mwest-untousMatthew West – Unto Us: A Christmas Collection (Capitol Christian Music Group)
For fans of: Christian pop from the likes of Steven Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, or Jason Gray
Great to have on while: wrapping those last minute gifts!

Unto Us is the second release from West who is one of Christian music’s most popular crooners. The album fits a similar mold to his previous Christmas outing and regular studio albums. West’s original tunes are always a standout due to his impressive writing chops. Don’t miss out on “Unto Us” or “A Christmas to Believe In” in particular.

ldaigle-beholdLauren Daigle
Behold: A Christmas Collection (Centricity Records)
For fans of: gutsy altos in the same vein as Adele or Kelly Clarkson
Great to have on while: taking a mid-day stroll through the snow.

The reigning GMA Dove Award Artist of the Year continues her impressive run as Behold is likely to become a Christian music holiday classic. Behold puts Daigle’s vocals from and center, and she really impresses on this release that has a nice, nostalgic feel that features nine Christmas classics and only one original. Be sure to listen for stand out cuts like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and the lone original “Light of the World.”


orb-celebratechristmasOak Ridge BoysCelebrate Christmas (Spring Hill Music Group)
For fans of: country based quartets like the Boys or Gatlin Brothers
Great to have on while: cooking the Christmas dinner!

It’s become almost an annual event for the Oak Ridge Boys to release a holiday extravaganza. Celebrate Christmas is nothing new for the Oak Ridge Boys. Their unique blend of Holiday classics like “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Blue Christmas” and fun, new songs like “THat’s Christmas to Me” and “Rest In You Tonight” helps set this recording apart from other releases this year. Pay particular attention to “The Hallelujah Chorus.”


newsong-thebestchristmaseverNewSong – The Best Christmas Ever (Independent)

For fans of: radio friendly pop/rock like Big Daddy Weave or MercyMe
Great to have on while: driving around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.

The same group that brought us “Christmas Shoes” over a decade ago is returning with their latest Christmas offering. If you’re wanting more teary-eyed schlock like “Shoes,” you might want to look elsewhere as this release is an upbeat celebration of this hallowed time of the year (though there is a live version of “Shoes” included. “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “This Christmas” are definitive highlights.


mredman-thesechristmaslightsMatt Redman – These Christmas Lights (Capitol Christian Music Group)

For fans of: movers and shakers in the modern worship movement like Chris Tomlin, Passion, or Hillsong Worship
Great to have on while: mingling at your annual Christmas get-together!

A highlight of this Christmas season is easily Matt Redman’s worship-laced Christmas release. Fans of modern worship have always loved Chris Tomlin’s offerings, but Redman’s bring a certain charm not found on Tomlin’s. His duet with pop-songstress Natasha Bedingfield on “Help From Heaven” is worth the cost of admission alone.

cnockels-thethrillofhopeChristy Nockels
 – The Thrill of Hope (Independent)
For fans of: inspirational and worship leaning music from the likes of Lauren Daigle, Francesca Battistelli, or Kari Jobe.
Great to have on while: the kids are building the first snowman of the season.

Christy Nockels has been a cherish voice in Christian music since her Watermark days. The Thrill of Hope is Nockels’s first Christmas release. Her voice soars on classics like “O Holy Night” and “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” However, she really shines on the original and updated numbers like “Song In the Air,” “Our Christmas Song,” and touching “Amaryllis.”

Chris Unthank

Chris Unthank is a seasoned veteran of Gospel music, having been a writer, performer, songwriter, and general music enthusiast for over two decades. He has been the Editor-In-Chief for AbsolutelyGospel.com since since January 2011. Chris is an avid fan of all things nerdy and resides in Murfreesboro, TN with his wife Noel and their four children.
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