The distinctively rustic and intimate sound of Anderson’s voice is one of the treasures of country music in the ’90s. But the wonder of his singing after more than 20 years in Nashville is that his expressive resources—the ingenuous gusto, the quizzical shadings, the gentleness and sincerity—remain vibrant and spontaneous, never hardening into mannerism.
Christmas Time is a better-than-average album of its kind, paced by an excellent session band, the bracing title cut (which Anderson cowrote) and several revivified chestnuts. Fans will not want to miss Anderson’s recitation of The Night Before Christmas. However you feel about the story, his soft, hearty voice speaks the way it sings—with unself-conscious warmth and wonder and a captivating country lilt. (BNA)