The Henningsens may not be a trio you’re all that familiar with. The trio consists of Brian Henningsen, his son Aaron and his daughter Clara and prior to landing their recording contract the trio wrote for artists including The Band Perry, Wynona Judd and Sara Evans. After signing their deal in 2012 the country trio released their self-titled album back in May 2013. Nearly 18 months on from their debut, the family is back with holiday collection Our Family Christmas.
The album opens with Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Baby Jesus which is one of a handful of original tracks on the album. It’s an incredible festive number that sets the tone for the album and definitely puts you into the holiday spirit. From there on out the album mixes a few more originals with a selection of covers with The Henningsens putting their own spin on some familiar holiday songs.
Clara takes on the majority of the vocals with her brother and father providing the harmonies. She’s git a voice not that unfamiliar to Kimberly Perry from The Band Perry. It is deceptively powerful and she knows how to use it for the best on each song. On Carol of The Bells (Medley) her tone is softer and more fragile whereas on O Holy Night she unleashes the power of her voice exploring her beautiful upper register.
Jerrod Niemann features on vocals on original track Christmas Kissin’, a rather playful song that is definitely one of the album’s highlights. Elsewhere the family reads the Bible passage of the Christmas story to an instrumental version of Away In A Manager on The Christmas Story, puts their harmonies at the fore on the gorgeous Auld Lang Syne, and inject an almost Hawaiian feel into a perky version of White Christmas.
The standout moment on the album comes on Silent Night which features former American Idol contestant Janelle Arthur. The lazy beat of the song drives the melody along and Arthur’s voice complements Clara’s. They are both distinctive and they pack emotion into the favourite holiday classic.
The Henningsens have produced a beautiful collection of Christmas songs for Our Family Christmas. There’s a nice mix of songs and tempos with something for everything to enjoy. There are a lot of Christmas albums on the market with more released all the time but The Henningsens is one you would be foolish not to check out. If for nothing else, the family harmonies are like a gentle caress to your ears.