Following his 2004 album Stronger Everyday, Jon B. released his first and, to date, only Christmas album Holiday Wishes: From Me to You on Nov 14th, 2006 via Arsenal Records. I was twenty-five years old and deployed to Doha, Qatar, while serving in the United States Air Force. Imagine my surprise when I was walking around the exchange and noticed that one of my favorite singers had a new project out. Naturally, I purchased it without hesitation.
Jon opens up the project with a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Jon’s production on the song sounds fresh, and he truly makes the song his own. “Hold You Down,” an original composition, is up next, and the song is textbook Jon B. Now, this a great thing as a songwriter; Jon is vastly underrated. While the song is a Christmas song, outside of a few words in the lyrics, you can play “Hold You Down” year-round.
“Over Our Heads” is up next and has the same vibe as its predecessor. Jon takes time to tape into his spiritual side, mentioning peace and realizing essential things in life. The positivity continues with “Peace on Earth,” which would feel right at home over the closing credit of a Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movie. Jon picks up the tempo on “Celebrate Christmas,” which is the perfect soundtrack for the office Christmas party. The last two Christmas songs are “Merry Christmas” and “Santa’s On His Way.” Both tracks show off Jon’s piano skills, and he sings with ease, although I found “Santa’s On His Way” to be the stronger of the two.
Par for the course of a Christmas album, Jon puts his spin on traditional Christmas songs. Jon covers “Away in a Manger,” “Joy to the World,” and “O’Holy Night.” Naturally, he sings them with ease; however, given the strength of his original material, a small part of wishes he had omitted the traditional songs and given us all brand new songs. Alternatively, had he decided to cover some more songs, I would’ve loved to hear his take on soulful classics such as “What Do the Lonely Do for Christmas,” “At Christmas Time,” or “Christmas Time Is Here”.
I hadn’t listened to Jon’s Christmas album from start to finish in over a decade. I recall that the album played a part in my mental health while I spent the Christmas holiday in the desert fourteen years ago. Always a composite performer, Holiday Wishes: From Me to You solidifies Jon B.’s talent to perform music in any genre.
Top Tracks: “This Christmas,” “Hold You Down,” and “Santa’s On His Way”
Final Grade B
Holiday Wishes: From Me to You is available on all streaming platforms.