Genre: Holiday Live Album, Rock, Festive Rock

Sounds Like:  Heart live

The Good: Vibe, Musical Personality, Holiday Rock Perspective, Diversity

The Bad: Nothing to report

The Ugly: Nothing to report

The Band: 4 out of 5

The Music: 4 out of 5

The Songs: 4 out of 5

The Vibe: 5 out of 5

The Production: 5 out of 5

The Verdict: 5 out of 5





The Review: Heart sure knows how to embrace the Christmas spirit. No strangers to holiday themed recordings, the Wilson sisters join forces with a bevy of guest stars for the Frontiers Records release, Home For The Holidays. This collection kicks off with a sensitive reading of the Joni Mitchell-penned classic "River". While not exactly holiday-themed, the performance falls in line with the album's gentle mood and is one of the album's best overall performances. In particular, Ann Wilson's strong voice inhabits every line of the song with maturity and passion.


"Seasons" is another exquisite performance with shimmering acoustic guitars and a carefully phrased Ann Wilson vocal. The musicians play with considerable chemistry and the layered arrangement in this is another treat. One of the album's best guest stars, Shawn Colvin, delivers a soul-stirring rendition of "Love Came Down at Christmas" that, like the rest of the songs, never sinks into cheese. Sammy Hagar's cheerful turns on "All We Need Is An Island" and "Santa's Going South" rub off on the band and their relaxed confidence is hard to miss.


Train's lead singer, Pat Monahan, duets with Ann Wilson on "Please Come Home From Christmas" and fill this standard with wonderfully bluesy flair. Wilson delivers another spectacular solo vocal on "Remember Christmas", but the piano accompaniment is equally great with its understated beauty. These recent inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shift into classic rock gear with two chestnuts from their back catalog, "Barracuda" and "Even It Up". It's impressive to hear the energy, commitment Heart still brings to these classics, and they have lost little of their guitar-driven power. Recalling their legendary performance at the Kennedy Center Awards honoring Led Zeppelin, Heart pay tribute to their roots with another powerful cover of "Stairway to Heaven". It isn't mere imitation - instead, Heart plays this song as if they wrote it themselves and it makes for a more enjoyable experience. The album closes with a Bob Dylan cover, "Ring Them Bells", that doesn't seem to specifically fit the Yuletide theme, but with its hopeful yearning and vivid imagery, it certainly touches on the larger emotions common to their Christmas season.


The Bad: Nothing to report.


The Ugly: Nothing to report.


The Bottom Line: This mature, appealing seasonal release has a lot to offer musically while never seeming schlocky or tailored for profit. Heart remains a top-notch outfit after three plus decades in music and this is a memorable release in their long career.

Lydia Hillenburg edited by Markus Druery

Indieshark Music Critic




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