Friday, November 9, 2012
Album review: Tim Halperin’s holiday album will cast you Under That Christmas Spell
His lovable personality will win over your heart this season.
Some may say it’s too early to start celebrating Christmas, but not Tim Halperin. The 24-year-old Texas Christian University graduate who competed on American Idol Season 10 released a seasonal Christmas EP on Tuesday that is sure to have mothers and daughters giddy.
Under That Christmas Spell is Halperin’s follow up album to his debut, Rise and Fall. Ironically, the idea for a holiday collection came to light in the middle of the Texas summer, when Halperin said he was made nostalgic for the season by Starbucks’ red cups. His inspiration grew at just thought of celebrating six months down the road.
“Growing up, I worked on a Christmas tree farm for four years,” Halperin said, laughing about the days of bottomless hot chocolate. “Around Christmas, people in general are more happy and forgiving.”
Under That Christmas Spell is a six-song album that intermixes original tunes and classic covers. Halperin reinvented the hymn-like “Mary Did You Know” by adding cello and redirecting the listener to the lyricism of the song. In his rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Halperin's sincerity bleeds through as his voice dances over minimalist guitar lines and dainty xylophone.
The album’s title track and final cover, “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” features Halperin’s good friend and co-reality TV star Hayley Orrantia, whose hefty vocals add an extra dimension to the compositions. Her edgy, even slightly seductive tone perfectly balances Halperin's innocent appeal; so much in fact, that when listening to the latter tune you can picture the duo singing longingly on a split video screen.
Under That Christmas Spell’s undertone is apparently, but not overtly, Christian, as Halperin spoke openly about his religion. He plans to lead Christmas Eve service at Christ’s Chapel in Fort Worth this year because the pastor (also a close friend) and his wife are due for a baby that evening. After leading the service, Halperin will trek some 650 miles north to see his family in Omaha, Neb. by Christmas morning.
While on the phone, Halperin took a moment to share some of his favorite holiday traditions. As a kid, he remembered candlelight Christmas Eve masses with the family followed by a warm Italian dinner at a restaurant up the road. He fondly recounted hearing the choir at the Christmas tree lightings at TCU. In more recent memory, Halperin makes a habit of dressing up as Buddy the Elf to entertain and astonish children at his manager’s personal winter wonderland.
“My manager has a huge Christmas light display at his house in Fort Worth … a couple weekends there are live characters out of front of the house like Santa and Mrs. Clause, Super Frog, the TCU mascot, and I’m Buddy the Elf,” he said.
Between his neighborhood appearances, Halperin will be touring and performing some of his new songs. Catch him Saturday at the TCU football game or at one of these regional venues. Check out Under That Christmas Spell on Spotify or buy it on iTunes.