"Would it still be Christmas if we couldn't be together?" This is the opening lyric on Luke's new holiday offering and the title track is not just about a gift wrapped up in pretty paper. It's about being "present" in the season, right here right now, no matter what this past year has proffered. And with Luke's trademark soulful delivery, it's a sentiment we can all log onto this festive season.
The now classic "This Christmas" is next and I must say, for a song I've never been crazy about, Luke renders a fervent and festive but also SOULFUL version. He grooves big-time and I love it. The classics are all here too. But there's nothing traditional about Luke's arrangements. "White Christmas" is totally fresh and funky. "Let It Snow" is almost like a brand new song (you'll have to listen) and "Silver Bells" is sleek and smooth like a satin pillow. If you're looking for straight-ahead soul, it doesn't get much better than "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Wonderful Christmastime".
Luke began his career as one half of the duo McMaster & James. After going solo in 2002 he shifted focus to songwriting and collaborating with artists like Rihanna, Nick Lachey, Nick Carter, and Kalan Porter. But Christmas is Luke's true love and "Christmas Present" is actually his 4th holiday collection. And when you combine a true love of soul and and a true love of Christmas you do, in fact, receive a fabulous gift. So grab a cup of cheer, turn up the speakers and get ready to groove. Wrapping it all up with "Someday at Christmas" (the Stevie Wonder classic), you might shed a tear or two as well. Just remember to be present.
Vickie van Dyke