Is there room for another holiday CD among the thousands already recorded? Yes – when it’s the quality of “This Little Light,” performed by tenor Anthony Dean Griffey and guitarist Joseph Pecoraro. Griffey is a High Point native whose career includes leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and four Grammy Awards. Pecoraro has been on the faculty of the UNC School of the Arts since 1998 and plays regularly in concerts across the U.S.
With Griffey’s warm, appealing vocals and Pecoraro’s gentle, precise fingerings, these 16 sacred and secular pieces take on an intimate simplicity that is refreshing. The approach brings to mind a troubadour entertaining at a candlelit feast.
Griffey, who grew up singing in a church choir, brings an emotional directness to “O Holy Night” and “In the Bleak Midwinter,” while adding a hint of gospel fervor to “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” and “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” Pecoraro plays two engaging solos, “Villancico De Navidad” and “Where the Heart Is,” and supplies arrestingly different arrangements for the more familiar numbers.
Griffey’s precise enunciations work well for the serious tracks but sound out of place in the several popular selections, including “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells.” But those are small blemishes on an otherwise heartfelt, uplifting CD, worthy of a place on the holiday music shelf. Order at thislittlelightcd.com, cdbaby.com or any major online retailer.
Correspondent Roy C. Dicks