The Crabb Family: Kelly Back (guitar); Bobby All (acoustic guitar); John Huey (steel guitar); Tommy White (dobro); Wanda Vick (mandolin, fiddle); Adam Crabb (harmonica); Dirk Johnson (piano); Jason Webb (keyboards); Jimmy Carter (bass guitar); Steve Brewster (drums, percussion).
Unlike the majority of Christmas albums, which tackle the usual collection of standards, the Crabb Family's first Christmas collection, The Locket, is entirely new material. The tracks, all written by family patriarch Gerald Crabb, include a couple of exercises in old-fashioned maudlin country death songs, the most blatantly manipulative being the self-explanatory "Your First Christmas in Heaven" and the truly dreadful "All I Want for Christmas," which commits the instant-tackiness mistake of including an untrained child's vocals. Overall, however, The Locket is primarily upbeat songs celebrating the reason for the season, set to country-oriented gospel arrangements. The light, jaunty "It's Christmas Once Again" is the standout, but fans of the Nashville-oriented branch of CCM will find most of the album to their liking, at least for the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. ~ Stewart Mason