Album – Christmas in the City Volume II – Various Artists

Imagine yourself lying on a comfortable couch, covered with a warm blanket, and a hot drink.

This is what the album feels like. Comfortable and warm.

xmasinthecity vol. 2

Christmas in the City Vol. 2 is 11th Avenue’s second annual Christmas compilation album released on December 11, 2014. The 15-track record features San Francisco’s talented songwriters and musicians.

The record begins in a lively tune with Wesley Woo’s “Snowman”, featuring Rachel Schmitz. Wesley and Rachel’s voice complement the song’s cute love story. They sound lovely together and I hope they collaborate again in another project.

Allison Wonderband’s rendition of “Winter Wonderland” is fun and adorable. I found myself listening to the intro as she sings sans instruments, and then I found myself swaying to the music once the instruments started playing in the background.

The record has a few slow and relaxing songs that change the tone and feel of the album. Tracks such as Heather Nievera’s cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, Shawn Byron’s original, “I Wish That I Was Home on Christmas Morning”, and Craig Perry’s instrumental guitar cover of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” are good for slowing down after a long day of Christmas shopping and beating the holiday rush.

A Christmas playlist wouldn’t be complete without “Last Christmas” (covered by Manjali Light) and “The Christmas Song” (performed by Jeff Desira). I really like how the record transitioned from a lonely, nostalgic tone to these holiday staples. On the other hand, The Not Marys’ “Grey Christmas” and Tommy P.’s “Christmas Waltz” sing about what Christmas means to them.

One thing that I really like about the album is that it’s simple and not heavily produced. Its simplicity gives rawness and sincerity that makes you appreciate it as a listener.

The album reminds me of Christmas—the falling snow, fresh pine trees, a hot chocolate drink, and marshmallows. It captures the feeling of Christmas: the nights becoming colder, the snow falling outside, the carols you hear on the streets, and the beautiful lights in houses and streets.

Remember that feeling of happiness and excitement because Christmas is coming? This is what I felt like after listening to this record. When I listen to it, it reminds me that Christmas is being with your loved ones, it’s about being happy, and it’s about sharing.

When I listen to it again, I see myself on the couch, a blanket close to my reach, a hot chocolate on the table, and a book. On a warm, April Sunday morning. Because who says you can’t listen to Christmas songs anytime of the year?

Christmas in the City Vol. 2 is available in 11th Avenue’s Bandcamp page. To get a physical copy, visit their Facebook page or website.

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