John CowanJohn Cowan, former lead singer and bass player of New Grass Revival, has one of the most expressive, powerful voices in any genre of music. And now he's applied that instrument to a soulful collection of Christmas tunes called 'Comfort and Joy.'

In addition to traditional holiday favorites such as 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,' 'O Holy Night' and The Christmas Song,' 'Comfort and Joy' includes 'Let's Make a Baby King' (written by Jesse Winchester and previously recorded by Wynonna) and 'Christmas Everyday,' a Motown classic from Smokey Robinson.

And although some of the arrangements on the tunes may stray a bit from other familiar versions, John says it was important to stick with the traditional melodic approach in singing them. "These songs are just fine the way they are," he says, "that's why the strike a chord in us all."

One of the new songs on the album is 'Little Match Girl,' written by John's stepdaughter, Jenny Anne Mannan. Another family member who had a profound impact on the singer and on this album in particular, was John's father, who died in 1974 when John was in high school. Richard Clement Cowan would often sing Christmas songs in the car while traveling to visit family during the holidays.

"He had this beautiful high baritone voice," says the singer. 'During the making of the album, I kept hearing his voice and this real need to please him. I consciously tried to sing for, and like, my father. This whole project turned into an homage to my dad."

'Comfort and Joy' is available now.