By Ashley Paskill
Are you looking for an alternative to the same traditional Christmas music played on most commercial radio stations? The brand new holiday EP, Smilin’ Through, drops today from Philadelphia native, Joey Sweeney, across all digital platforms. Sweeney is coming off a year of releasing three singles for his 2018 album.
This, however, isn’t your ordinary holiday album. All proceeds from the album will benefit Rock to the Future, a 501(c)3 organization that provides music education to underserved youth in Philadelphia. Listeners and fans can donate more money in exchange for special benefits including admission to JoJo’s Variety Show to a house performance from Sweeney himself. This information can be viewed on The Giving Groove’s website.
The record features some new, spiced-up renditions of the classics, “Smilin’ Through” and “Auld Lang Syne”. For example, “Auld Lang Syne” is typically a slower-tempo, more sentimental track, that starts off mellow, but gradually builds through the intro and the verse starts off fast. Sweeney also penned the original track, “Don’t Kill Yourself This Christmas”, Sweeney wrote himself. This song seeks to raise awareness of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder characterized by depression, typically in the fall and winter months. It is often associated with the changing lengths of day.
Each song fits his voice perfectly while also allowing his passion to shine through, making the songs that much more enjoyable. The album’s instrumental mixes of the songs are unique and different from other versions while maintaining their catchiness and are still fun to listen to.
Overall, this EP is an instant classic and is a must-have for anyone tired of the same old Christmas songs that are being played in every store and all over the radio. While the instruments overpower the vocals in some areas, the overall production is good quality. Even though the EP only contains three songs, the album focuses on creating better opportunities for kids in the area of quality music education in Philadelphia, as well as raising awareness for SAD. It is a great value for the price, and the other fundraising options seem worth looking into as well.
Rating: A smiling classic!