John Schlitt: The Christmas Project review

\"TheIt’s November so you know what that means- it’s time for Christmas music. It’s the time of year when many recording artists release Christmas albums and, adding to the festivities this year is legendary Christian vocalist John Schlitt.

It’s hard to believe that with the long and prolific career Schlitt has had that he’s never released a Christmas album, but it’s true, let alone any Christmas music at all. This year, though, Schlitt launched a Kickstarter campaign, much like he did for his The Greater Cause record, for fans to get involved; the final product is The Christmas Project and it’s exactly what you’d expect from Schlitt- Christmas with a rock and roll twist.

Now, everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always had issues with Christmas music in November, but it’s one of those things you can’t fight and sometimes a band or artist will release a Christmas record that you just can’t help but check out. This is one of those times.

Opening up The Christmas Project is “Hallelujah Chorus,” which starts with Schlitt singing the opening lines in a round and launching into a rock-heavy guitar track that has Schlitt-style written all over it.

Songs like “O Holy Night,” “We Three Kings” and “What Child is This?” have that classic Christmas carol vibe to them that, with Schlitt’s dynamic voice, will just calm you with how peaceful the tracks are.

Then there’s the original track, “What Christmas Needs to Be,” which Schlitt should be proud of. With this track, Schlitt talks about what’s wrong with Christmas today and how the true meaning of the holiday has been lost in time. We need to get back to the true meaning of Christmas- Jesus and God, which is what Schlitt is saying in the song.

The most impressive part of the record is how insanely high Schlitt’s voice can still go after all these years. Many singers lose part of their octave range after so long but on The Christmas Project it’s like Beyond Belief or Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out all over again- the man hasn’t lost a step and it shows.

Schlitt says he felt a big tug and responsibility to record a Christmas album this year since he’s never done one. Many times when an artist puts so much into a record, it falls short of their expectations and doesn’t come out as they’d like. This couldn’t be less the case here- as a solo artist this is right up there with all of Schlitt’s albums and is a Christmas album any Petra fan or Schlitt fan will listen to annually for the rest of time.

Rating: 9/10

-Reggie Edwards