Personnel: Shawn Colvin (vocals, acoustic guitar); Dan Petty (guitar, lap steel guitar); Steuart Smith (guitar); Larry Campbell (pedal steel guitar, mandolin, violin); Sandra Park, Sharon Yamada (violin); Rebecca Young (viola); Alan Stepansky (cello); Dan Willis (oboe); Kenny Rampton (flugelhorn); John Clark (French horn); Jim Pugh (trombone); David Taylor (bass trombone); Clark Gayton (euphonium); Doug Petty (piano, organ); Ben Street (acoustic & electric basses); Mark Egan, Andy Hess (bass); Shawn Pelton (drums); Marlon Saunders, Jill Seifers, Paul Frazier (background vocals).
Engineers: Steve Addabbo, Ray Martin, Aaron Keane.
Recorded at Shelter Island Sound, New York, New York.
Becoming a mother probably had something to do with singer-songwriter Colvin's desire to record this album of Christmas tunes (she was pregnant during the sessions). Or maybe it was just career savvy; whatever the reason, Colvin temporarily abandons her unique style of folk-rock to take up the Christmas cause. It's to her credit that she generally avoids over-recorded Christmas standards in favor of more obscure (and more substantive) holiday material. Some of the tunes are arranged for orchestra, while others feature more scaled-down instrumentation, but HOLIDAY SONGS sounds and feels more like the work of a skilled vocalist exploring something different than a rocker out to make a few quick Christmas bucks. The sensuality and elasticity of her voice lends itself well to the more spiritual concerns she tackles here.
Entertainment Weekly (12/4/98, pp.101-104) - "...A babe in these woods couldn't ask for a better birthday present than an album that offers props to both Maurice Sendak and Vince Guaraldi..." - Rating: A-