December 5, 2016
By Scott Wigley (Article): https://indiemusicreviews.net/kaylee-keller-christmas-in-your-arms/
Kaylee Keller – Christmas in Your Arms (single)
Vocalist Kaylee Keller is a cut above similar performers in the country genre. She has an abundance of talent for succeeding with country’s predominant template now, pop influenced efforts with a slight Americana twist or sound, but she also has a wide command over the classic country genre. Her vocals are full of stylish sophistication and soulful gravitas, but there’s a youthful glow she manifests on even the most lyrically intense passages. Her performance of the classic country Christmas hit “Christmas in Your Arms” is made all the more memorable by her work with another rising talent on the scene, vocalist and songwriter Rusty Rierson. These two excellent vocalists realize the full potential of this songwriting clinic. All the necessary elements are here. There’s great storytelling in the lyric content, a well-constructed musical arrangement, insistent tempo, and an enchanting vocal melody full of comfortable familiarity and produced with an balanced and inviting sound.
It takes a lighter, less dateable sound. The wont of bands like Alabama during their heyday was to work with four piece bands, even less conventional units like vocal groups, and their musical arrangements always centered on the electric guitar. Keller clearly is pursuing this song more in the mode of a breezy love song and plays her voice off against cascading, swaying piano lines that play quite colorful over the steady tempo. Keller and Rierson alike sing well over the shuffle beat and hit their highest point together on the rousing chorus. Everything here is pure romance, but it’s never played too syrupy. The sentimentality is kept in check thanks to the restraint that both singers show from beginning to end. “Christmas in Your Arms” is a memorable song handled by a single vocalist supported with strong harmonies and it’s just as powerful, in a different fashion, when two energetic and skilled singers trade off lines and sing together with such stellar interplay.
The song shows the same sharp focus that defined the original. Both singers are far from the kind of performers who are susceptible to self –indulgence but Keller, in particular, has shown a steady hand for this sort of thing on her previous EP release. The uplifting force of this song is due, in part, to how well written it is, but Alabama’s songs are deceptively simple to cover. Keller and her collaborators prove quite up to the task on “Christmas in Your Arms”. Country music fan young and old alike will find a lot to admire on this release and, despite its theme, it has the necessary excellence to be a song listeners continue revisiting throughout the year, no matter the temperature. Seasonal songs don’t always have this appeal. All too often they play like schlocky pandering for dollars, but not here. Kaylee Keller, however, is a real artist and a performer who never approaches a song as a novelty.