Folk Angel 2For many artists, recording a Christmas record seems to be an easy walk of nostalgia. By and large, the songs have already been written and all that’s left to do is maybe inject a slight shift here and there and you’re all set. You’ve given the fans a little holiday cheer and have added to your discography and your bank account with little real effort.

Yet, for Texas-based indie outfit Folk Angel, Christmas music is far more than an easy experience and is rather an opportunity to revisit the amazing Gospel story and frame it in sounds both old and new. Comprised of band members Caleb Carruth, Hunter Hall, Ryan Duckworth, and Jeff Capps, Folk Angel has for the past several years poured their hearts into offering up both original tunes as well as rearranged traditional carols with the heartbeat of shining new light on the Gospel story and on their latest, All the Earth Rejoice – Christmas Songs, Vol. 5, they do just that.

The band is that rare collective that, as they tackle these hallowed tracks, manage to stay faithful to the heart of the song while still taking it into new places as they do on “We Three Kings,” featuring guest vocals from Aaron Ivey as well as a juxtaposition of swirling electric guitar that meets with plucky acoustic elements. “Hark the Herald Angels” is given a rousing facelift, the melody intact but fueled by a toe-tapping arrangement that keeps things moving while their take on “The Friendly Beasts,” with guests Sleeperstar, is soulful and sound, reminiscent of work by the newly minted Digital Age.

“While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” boasts an acoustically ethereal sound while a guest vocal from Charlie Hall on “Away in a Manger” infuses some playful keyboard and percussion but the original track, “Messiah,” is easily one of the best highlights on the record. Featuring the Robbie Seay Band, it’s a powerful praise and worship ballad, building on some stark notes that emerge into a rousing conclusion that celebrates the fact that “Our God has come!”

“It’s Almost Christmas Time” is another original that shines, a persistent beat pressing the track onward as the rich vocal declares the joys of the season as subtle piano and guitar carry the simple message of “There’s a Song in the Air.” But it’s the spoken word of guest poet, Isaac Wimberley on “He Knows,” that takes the cake. Wimberley’s delivery is passionate and emotive, his message of the Christmas story emerging onto the hope that that very story brings infused with added power due to the band’s sweeping backing instrumentals that set a perfect tone.

The record also boasts two bonus tracks that find the band covering two powerful hymns, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and “Doxology.” They’re both excellent and hopefully hint at an additional direction this talented quartet may be taking, bringing their talents to some less than seasonal offerings as well.

Folk Angel’s All The Earth Rejoice, is far from a paint-by-the-numbers Christmas offering. Yes, many of the song selections seem familiar but once in the hands of this creative collective, they’re transformed into something new and different, offering listeners a renewed vision of these classic tracks. And with their own original additions shining as well, Folk Angel can rest secure in the fact that they’ve delivered a Christmas record that’s sure to bring delight and worship for years to come.