Sandra's Country Music Presents


(Polygram Records, 1993)

by Sandra L. Toney
I have some "Good News" for Kathy Mattea fans: her 1993 Christmas album finds Mattea at her very best. The title, of course, is "Good News" and the ten uplifting, inspirational songs will turn any Christmas gathering into one of hope and joy.

The selections Mattea chose to include on her first holiday release were ones that didn't include the old stand-by's like "Silent Night" or "The Christmas Song." Instead, singles such as "What a Wonderful Beginning," and "Brightest and Best" grace the album with beauty and originality. The only song that some may recognize is the Keith Whitley classic, "There's A New Kid In Town," which several country artists have included on Christmas albums since Whitley's untimely death.

"Good News," the title song, which is the closing selection on the album, will bring an inner peace to anyone who hears it as Mattea convincingly recites, "Bow your head, speak not a word/Let the silence take you far from here/The spirit of a child dry every tear/And may your doubts they disappear."

The uplifting opening tune on the release, "What a Wonderful Beginning," spreads more of Mattea's message of good news as the song begins and ends with this chilling verse, "Oh a man named John the Baptist/Had been heralding the news/About the coming of a Savior/For both the Gentiles and the Jews."

If there's any song that you've ever wanted to press the repeat button for so you can hear it time and time again, it is definitely my favorite choice on the album, the breathtaking "Mary, Did You Know?" This song has to affect anyone who hears it as it

tells the story of Mary, who gave birth to the Baby Jesus, and asks the question over and over, "Mary, did you know?"

We'll never realize if Mary knew, but here are some of the things Mattea understandably wonders about, "Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man/Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand/Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod/When you've kissed your little baby then you've kissed the face of God?"

This spiritual, rejoicing album will bring a smile to the face of every Christmas listener, country music lover or not. A special thanks to Kathy Mattea for bringing us her extraordinary brand of "Good News!"

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