Review Rating: Must Listen [4.5 / 5]
Marc Martel’s second Christmas project, The First Noel EP, will be available November 24 – the day after Thanksgiving and just in time for Christmas. The EP includes six Christmas classics wrapped up in Martel’s unique style. Expect to hear several of these songs on the radio this holiday season, as I’m sure the feel-good holiday vibes will make these songs fast favorites.
Martel’s “The Christmas Song” has that classic, jazzy feel we’re used to hearing in this Christmas classic. Piano, bass, and snare carry the song underneath Martel’s warm voice. The lyrics break, for an upright bass solo midway through the song, and then moves into that wonderfully, Christmassy chorus one last time: “Though it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.”
The title track, “The First Noel,” is another Christmas favorite, bringing the focus to “the King of Israel[‘s]” birth. Martel adds an original bridge to the classic with the lyrics, “All hearts in Heaven and earth turn to the incarnate one, so in one grateful voice sing praise to our God and rejoice.” Martel’s “The First Noel” is a powerful, worshipful rendition of the song that brings new life to an old favorite.
The album closes with Martel’s rendition of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” The song stands out from the rest of the songs on the album in style, but it is a beautiful way to end the collection. A powerful chorus of voices sing the familiar song, and the joy is audible throughout the song as they sing, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever. Hallelujah!”
Martel’s The First Noel EP feels like a warm, Christmas night by the fireplace. The six songs are impressively played and sung as they embrace the nostalgia and joy of the season. This is a collection of Christmas songs that is sure to be a favorite this holiday season and for years to come.