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Indigo Girls: Holly Happy Days

Vanguard/IG

Since the Indigo Girls have never followed anyone's rules, it stands to reason that would hold true for the most traditional of career moves: the Christmas album. Instead of rolling out a bunch of hoary holiday hokum in a bid for that elusive annual seller, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have crafted a warm acoustic set that captures the most rustic aspects of a once joyous family-oriented season. It's a rootsy mix of spiritually based traditionals ("O Holy Night"), obscure covers (Chely Wright's "It Really is a Wonderful Life"), three lovely originals and even a Hanukkah tune from Woody Guthrie. Nashville's best musicians provide the unplugged string-based backing, Saliers and Ray's voices intertwine like a crocheted wool blanket, the rather luxurious packaging is as classy as the music and it all goes down like hot buttered rum on a wintry night. (4 out of 5 stars)