Thoughts on ‘A Season of Peace’

IMAGE SUBMITTED The cover of Michael McDonald’s latest album.

Michael McDonald has gathered 15 tracks for “A Season of Peace: The Christmas Collection.” The CD opens with the upbeat rock tune, “That’s What Christmas Means to Me.” Twinkie Clark does vocals on the rousing African-American spiritual “Children Go Where I Send Thee.”

Seven other familiar favorites get a new spin, such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” in a soft rock, bluesy style. McDonald changes the meter to 4/4 on “O Holy Night” in a Latin-flavored version and adds a Celtic pulse to “Wexford Carol” in a 3/4 time signature.

Soft rock prevails on “Through the Many Winters,” “Everytime Christmas Comes Around” and “On Christmas Morning.” These new tunes speak of faith, gathering with loved ones, getting through difficult times and recalling pleasant memories and traditions.

“World Out of a Dream” is an R&B tribute to the Christmas spirit and a wish to make good will last beyond the holiday. McDonald shows his softer side on the orchestral retrospective, “Peace.” It deals with the journey of life and moving beyond pain and mistakes of the past.

The album closes with a folksy, relaxing rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with piano and violins backing McDonald’s distinctive vocals. Along with the aforementioned ukulele instrumental of “Winter Wonderland,” the CD offers a mix that can appeal to a wide audience.