Maggie Szabo can do it all – her memorable R&B-hued vocals peppered into pop electronic tunes make for an entertaining escape. Showing a different side, and revealing yet another heartfelt experience, Szabo teams up with guitarist and singer Dylan Chambers in the original song “Christmas Without You”. This is not just another merry tune to play in the background while baking cookies, “Christmas Without You” champions itself as the song of the season. Szabo and Chambers sure make beautiful music together. 

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Szabo and Chambers definitely have chemistry. Szabo starts out singing and then hands off the vocals to Chambers. I liked the duet approach, and I especially loved how their voices blend together like a brownie mix. It’s sweet and especially endearing. I also loved the lines the snow could be falling down, family and friends all around 

This painted such a wonderful, almost snow globe like image for me. Let’s face it, the holidays tend to be romanticized in music, and songwriters trigger a nostalgia or even somber memory to listeners. While it’s a magical time for some, others have a rough go of it in the holidays. “Christmas Without You” says heck to the nay- sayers and while it’s a cute thing to be missing your loved one or better half at Christmas, there is still such optimism and joy in Szabo and Chambers’ voices, that you can’t help but sing along and smile. Chambers provides a generous boost to Szabo’s already rousing vocals. I found myself humming immediately and tapping my toe to the snappy rhythm. 

The guitar work in this song is refreshingly authentic and retro chic. It’s almost rockabilly and I loved the tones and shapes. Chambers’ guitar riffs change up and give off a bit of a heat, something that felt unexpected and completely warranted. The guitar really gave the song a nice extra pizazz against the sparkling keys and chimes, the guitar really crushed it. The layers and depth to the song are more than meets the ear; I encountered a robust sonic experience. Szabo, who was born in Canada and now calls Los Angeles home, always has such a rosy voice – her vocal approach is sincere and she projects confidence. She possesses a natural harmony, a bountiful blend of hope and honesty in that gorgeous voice. 

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You can’t fake that talent. You can’t buy it either. Her other singles, “Sweet Illusion” with GRAMMY-nominated DJ/producer Morgan Page, “My Oh My” (#28 on the Canada Hot Adult Contemporary Chart), and “Midsummer Nights” also give audiences a keen idea on her talents. It’s exciting to hear her voice in a different way – her voice is meant for Christmas fun. If you’re a fan of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You (Make My Wish Come True)” there is substantial evidence in Szabo and Chambers’ polished, glossy track “Christmas Without You” might just find its way to the top of the Christmas charts. There’s always room for a star and an angel at the top of the tree, right?

Garth Thomas