Cleveland’s Ohio City Singers to Celebrate Ten Years with New Compilation and Anniversary Concert at HOB

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how fast times seems to pass. One minute, you’re having fun doing something you love. The next thing you know, an entire decade has come and gone. That is the situation that the Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Chris Allen finds himself in today as he and his Christmas-themed band The Ohio City Singers have just released a new digital release called All Wrapped Up.

The All Wrapped Up album from Chris Allen and The Ohio City Singers is a new 13-track release that looks back at the band’s 10 years of existence and four albums of original Christmas music, a tradition that began from the simple request from Allen’s father for a song for Christmas. And while there have been a random cover tune or two thrown into the mix, for the most part, it has been the original material from the band that has kept the band’s many fans coming back year after year for the group’s concerts that have taken place around the time of Christmas.

On the All Wrapped Up album from Chris Allen and The Ohio City Singers, the release begins with “Real Good Christmas Time,” a track featured on the band’s first release entitled Love and Hope. “Real Good Christmas Time” features the same sort of straight-out Rock and Roll sound that Allen has been known for creating. The track’s Rock and Roll comes complete with a little holiday magic with the inclusion of things like sleigh bells to add that festive feeling.

It is with the title track of the Snow Days release that that particular album really takes on the festive feeling meant for a holiday release. But in the case of the song “Snow Day,” the “festive feeling” has more to do with the excitement that comes with being off of school or work because of bad weather. Special guest (and Cleveland local hero) Michael Stanley shows up to do what he does best- be the voice on the radio. And while not truly a “holiday” song, “Snow Days” would fit alongside songs like “Sleigh Ride” or “Jingle Bells” as a song to include in the holiday season even though it never mentions the holiday of “Christmas”.

“A Town Called Christmas,” the title track of the release of the same name, features a fun call-and-answer feel between the ban mates as they sing of a town that really gets into the spirit of the season. While this and many of the other tracks on the album find Chris Allen writing with Austin “Candy Cane” Charanghat (who has changed his nickname from his usual nickname of “Walkin’ Cane” for the holiday season) instead of Doug McKean with whom he wrote the majority of Snow Days, the last release from this band, the partnership between Allen and Charanghat seems just as strong and natural. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that they have been performing together for decades now.

With the track “Love and Hope,” the Ohio City Singers take on a sound that contains a strong, soulful feel to the music. In fact, you could almost imagine an artist like Wilson Pickett or Jackie Wilson. The track’s strong groove is easily the focal point of the track while the holiday lyrics help to add a joyous feeling to the track. “Love and Hope” is one of the strongest tracks on the All Wrapped Up release.

It was on the album A Town Called Christmas where you could find the song “Memories of Red and Green”. While the majority of A Town Called Christmas from The Ohio City Singers was composed by Chris Allen and Austin “Candy Cane” Charanghat, this track was composed by Chris Allen and Doug McKean. It was Allen and McKean who composed the majority of the band’s 2011 release Snow Days. Because of that connection, this song contains the same feel to the music and lyrics, making it feel as if it should have been included on the band’s last release. This track is one of the strongest songs on the new release as it feels more like a straight-out rock song than it feels like a Christmas track. Even with the lyrics about the holiday time of the year, you could easily find yourself jamming along with the band.

The All Wrapped Up release from The Ohio City Singers comes to an end with the tune “A Pauper’s Noel”. In the style of John Lennon’s “Xmas is Here (War is Over),” the song “A Pauper’s Noel” has the same upbeat feel to the music and also features a chorus of singers in the back that help add depth to the song. The horns on the song also help add some festive feeling to the music. Altogether, “A Pauper’s Noel” is one of the strongest carols on The Ohio City Singers’ release of A Town Called Christmas. Because of that strength in the song, “A Pauper’s Noel” makes for a good final track for the All Wrapped Up release.

Like many compilation albums, the All Wrapped Up release from The Ohio City Singers contains only some of the best moments from the holiday music library from the band. The album does, however, work well to give the listener a good overview of the band’s sound and style. It also does a good job of showing off the writing talents and playing abilities of each of the members of the band. If you have yet to check out any of the releases from The Ohio City Singers, take this opportunity and begin your music collection from the band with their latest collection of All Wrapped Up.

For a sample of the music from The Ohio City Singers, check out the live video to the song “Snow Day“.

The Ohio City Singers are currently celebrating 10 years of being together as a group. The band will be celebrating that anniversary when they perform at Cleveland’s House of Blues on December 16, 2017. You’ll hear many of the songs in this collection on that day. Come on out and enjoy some holiday merriment. The band also has a few concerts taking place before that anniversary date. If you can, catch The Ohio City Singers Saturday, December 2, 2017 when they play a matinee show at Music Box Supper Club and

To check out the digital-only All Wrapped Up release from The Ohio City Singers, click on the album cover below. The album is also available on I-Tunes.

 

 

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