Bunny Sigler – White Christmas

R&B and soul singer legend Bunny Sigler’s latest album, When You’re In Love At Christmas Time, is a holiday themed release that adds another outstanding entry to his long discography. The first single from this offering, “White Christmas”, is certainly familiar to the vast majority of listeners. Bing Crosby’s interpretation of the song has spent decades as the gold standard for this particular composition and later performers have largely chosen to mimic the template he laid down long ago and bring nothing personal to their rendering. Sigler, however, brings a distinctly different perspective to the track and remodels it in such a way that it plays to his stylistic strengths. There’s nothing ornate about this or sense of butterflies pinned under glass. Instead, the production frames things wonderfully and in a highly balanced way while Sigler glides over the top with true grace, sophistication, and undoubted sincerity.

The arrangement, naturally, incorporates all of the song’s classic elements. There is a concerted effort, however, from the first note on to spin this in a new, fresh direction and filter it through the wealth of Sigler’s experience as a soul singer and performer. It has a relatively brief duration but nonetheless takes its time arriving at its melodic end goals. The percussion is the musical highlight of this particular performance. It provocatively opens the song with a restless, busy pulse that wisely never attempts to dominate the proceedings. The percussion pushes the song forward with some urgency, but never aggressively. A spartan collection of instruments are employed to use on the track while some of the genre’s more assertive instruments, brass for instance, are held back from the song and the result is something much more delicate and considered. The lush and slinky musical attack washes over listeners from the outset and never relents.

Sigler’s singing is furthered strength by the presence of tasteful backing vocals that come in at critical moments. They are geared to further sweeten the pop and underscore his work, however, rather than double it. Sigler doesn’t sound at all intimidated by tackling such iconic material and, instead, takes great obvious pains to phrase the lyrics in a method that conforms to listener’s expectations while still allowing him to room to invent and put his own imprimatur on the performance’s development. Moreover, his willingness to match his vocal as closely as possible to the backing track makes “White Christmas” stand out as a powerful reminder of Sigler’s mastery.

“White Christmas” promises that the upcoming Yuletide album won’t simply be timely, but will also stand as a very real example of his vocal artistry and increasing range. Few singers truly improve with age – the rigors of the life wear on their throats until they are merely shadows of their former selves. It isn’t so with Bunny Sigler. Sigler believes his voice to be capable of virtually anything and shows faith with his willingness to follow it anywhere the song demands.


Jason Hillenburg