Movie Java’s annual holiday album is a Christmas blessing on multiple levels.
Filled with traditional and original songs from Idaho artists, the third installment will fill your igloo with sounds of the season ranging from indie to country. It’s an effortless way to discover the voices of Gem State musicians, whose non-holiday catalogs you can seek out later. Most important, it’s a godsend for needy families; proceeds go to the Idaho Foodbank, which delivered 54,000 meals based on last year’s album sales.
Carole King kicks off the disc and provides “big name” bragging rights. King’s quick, delicate “Carol of the Bells” first appeared on her "A Holiday Carole" album last year. But it’s the lesser-known performers who give “IdaHo Ho Ho” down-home warmth.
Ryan Bayne channels Johnny Cash on “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” Shook Twins team up with Portland’s Ben Darwish for a blissful winter rainbow of vocal harmonies and piano on “Carol of the Drum.” Creative keyboardist and singer Todd Dunnigan unveils a quirky, magical holiday tale called “One for the Angels,” a theatrical spectacle that feels like a childhood TV Christmas special.
The list goes on — this $15 disc includes 13 songs. (Side note: A one-sentence bio of each act would be a welcome addition to the liner notes of future releases.)
As is the case with almost any various-artists compilation, “IdaHo Ho Ho” ebbs and flows. But its seasonal spirit never wavers. Buy this CD knowing where the money goes, and neither will yours.