Westchester All Stars
"Christmas for Veterans Vol. 5"
http://www.allstarschristmas.com - CD and concert tickets
CD review by Roger Zee (10/22/16)
For five years running, singer/songwriter Bill Edwards has executive-produced the annual "Christmas for Veterans" project that includes a studio LP and a live concert performed by the Westchester All Stars. Their rallying cry -- "Hate war, but love the American warrior." "Christmas for Veterans Vol. 5" presents fifteen original holiday tunes by sundry artists ranging from Rock, Broadway, Blues, R&B, Caribbean, to Gospel.
Humor plays a large part here. On Bernie Williams and Edward's "I'm Still Coming to Your Town," Santa channels his inner "Smooth" to swap his broken-down sleigh for a flying Cadillac! Broadway ingenue Joni Lanza saucily seduces in "Santa Never Met a Girl Like Me." Certainly sounds tempting! No one believes Carmine Appice and his infectious reggae beat when Bill Edwards sings "Cause I Saw Santa." Dave Keyes and Duchess Di lament their only Christmas gift, an empty "Box of Blues!"
Sadly, not everything in life works out. In the ballad "Five More Minutes," MaryAnn Renza begs Santa for just a little more time with her deceased lover. Chuck St. Troy and Herman Eng lament those lost in the 9/11 attack and plead with God to "Shine a Light" on the world.
On the bright side, many artists praise the Lord and share Christmas cheer. In "This Is Jesus," Vaneese relates the story of Jesus' birth. He's "the love, he's the light who brings us joy." Tommy James re-tells the tale with great bombast in "Born on the First Christmas". Kristen Capolino head-bangs the point home with her hard-rock, instrumental version of "Joy to the World." In "The Dream Is Alive," Tom Dudley gets down and dirty describing the joy of the Christmas season. Tony Darrow croons of the pleasures "At This Time of Year." In the James Brown funk of "All the Kids Are Praying," the kids can't contain their excitement and anticipation of the big day. Scott Staton uses the disco beat to spread the joy with his "Loved Ones." Gene Cornish of The Rascals channels that old time rock'n roll in "Santa You're the Man."
Bill Edwards dedicates an amazing amount of time to writing songs, producing the record, and coordinating the big show. This year, The Westchester Allstars Christmas for Veterans Concert occurs on Friday, December 2, 2016 at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater and features many of the artists heard on this album. See you there!
©2016 Roger Zee