HEART & Friends – Home For The Holidays (2014)
Last December, HEART’s Ann and Nancy Wilson returned to their hometown of Seattle to stage a celebration of the season, gathering a few of their friends to join them in singing holiday classics, personal favorites and some of their own hits.
They were joined by special guests Shawn Colvin, Sammy Hagar, Richard Marx and Pat Monahan from Train, and
the concert, which took place at Benaroya Symphony Concert Hall, was taped and now released today by Frontiers Records as “HEART & Friends – Home For The Holidays“.
This certainly isn’t a typical release from Heart. Unlike their normal live releases, it’s not predominantly Heart songs, so really for a proper comparison, you should look at Christmas albums rather than Heart albums. That’s a better comparison as any album featuring lots of seasonal songs is unlikely to be listened to as much at other times of the year.
As Christmas albums go, this is a very good one – generally I avoid Christmas albums like the plague as they’re inevitably either full of the same few good songs or are full of second rate, cheesy mediocre songs.
This one is different though – for a start there are a couple of real classics in the shape of Heart’s “Barracuda”, and an excellent Led Zeppelin cover of “Stairway to Heaven”.
Then you have songs such as “Santa’s Going South”, which while it is a Christmas song, it’s a Sammy Hagar penned song, so isn’t your typical holidays song.
For me the highlight is the superb “Stairway to Heaven” version, and if you’re a Heart fan and don’t already have this song on another release (they’ve previously released a live version of this classic as a bonus track on the ‘Little Queen’ expanded edition) then the album is worth buying for this song alone.
That night the Wilson sisters were truly inspired, and this is the best “Stairway to Heaven” performance ever recorded by them.
Seriously, Heart’s version of this classic is awesome, epic and bombastic.
The album comes with a second disc – a DVD of the concert which contains the same songs as the CD with one exception – “Even it Up” is not included, presumably due to space limitations. A shame, because it’s another good version.
“HEART & Friends – Home For The Holidays” is a great release for Heart fans – you’ll get the most out of it at Christmas time, but there’s plenty here that you can enjoy all year round.
01 – The River
02 – Seasons
03 – Rocking (feat. Shawn Colvin)
04 – Love Come Down at Christmas
05 – Poem
06 – All through the Night (feat. Richard Marx)
07 – All We Need is an Island (feat. Sammy Hagar)
08 – Santa’s Going South (feat. Sammy Hagar)
09 – Please Come Home for Christmas (feat. Pat Monahan)
10 – Remember Christmas
11 – Barracuda
12 – Even it Up (appears on cd only)
13 – Stairway to Heaven
14 – Ring Them Bells (feat. Richard Marx)
BUY IT !