CD review by Mary Colurso, arts reviewer, The Birmingham News
3 1/2 stars (out of four)

Smart but not cynical, heartwarming yet never corny, traditional without being mundane.

This description doesn't even begin to sum up an evening with Birmingham storyteller, writer and actress Dolores Hydock, but it will have to do.

Hydock, a stellar performer on area stages, is best seen and heard live. However, she does manage to capture a great deal of her sparkle on a new spoken-word album, Holidazed!

Four segments from Hydock's recent holiday showcase are recorded here: "Birthday Gift," a poignant family memoir; "Abundant Blessings," a sweet Thanksgiving story; "Something in There," a Scrooge-ified look at love and loss; and "Finding Christmas," a travel tale about the real reason for the season.

The quartet makes its way to your ear with humor and compassion, two of Hydock's trademarks. She has a way of savoring lovely details and flipping neat turns of phrase into the air, like a deft and delighted juggler.

Each track on "Holidazed!" runs about 11 to 19 minutes -- exactly right or far too short, depending on your perspective. Hydock wrote them all, by the way. Do tell.