Country artists are known for their love of releasing holiday music, and the 2014 Christmas season abounds with offerings featuring country voices, along with collaborations and releases from other musical genres. Alan Jackson, Jamey Johnson, Sara Evans, The Henningsens and Darius Rucker are just a few of the names releasing holiday albums in 2014.
Below is a smattering of the new musical gems available this holiday season.
Jim Brickman, On A Winter’s Night: The Songs and Spirit of Christmas—Kenny Rogers and Jana Kramer are just a few of the vocalists who join piano man Brickman on this holiday collection. Rogers lends his voice to “That Silent Night,” while Kramer contributes to the bonus track “Clouds.”
Sara Evans, At Christmas—This CMA Female Vocalist of the Year winner offers several Christmas classics, including “O Holy Night,” “Run Rudolph Run,” and a special rendition of “12 Days of Christmas,” featuring vocals from two of her daughters, Olivia, 12, and Audrey, 10. The title track of this Mark Bright-produced project is an original penned by Shane Stevens and Toby Lightman.
The Henningsens, Our Family Christmas—Family trio The Henningsens have released their first holiday album, a 10-song digital project that includes gems such as “Silent Night,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and two originals, “Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Baby Jesus,” and “Christmas Kissin’,” featuring vocals from Jerrod Niemann.
Alan Jackson, Let It Be Christmas (re-release)—The traditional country stalwart brings his southern baritone to 11 Christmas chestnuts on this project, which originally released in 2002. Jackson composed the title track. Let It Be Christmas has earned gold certification from the RIAA.
Jamey Johnson, The Christmas Album—This five-song holiday EP is the first project released on Johnson’s own Big Gassed Records. The project includes the Johnson composition “South Alabam Christmas,” penned with Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon, and recorded in RCA Studio A. The Secret Sisters join Johnson on “Mele Kalikimaka,” as does Lily Meola on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
The Claire Lynch Band, Holiday!—IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year winner Lynch embodies a retro ambiance in her take on several holiday standards including “White Christmas,” “Home For The Holidays,” and “Scarlett Ribbons,” featuring harmonies from Lynch’s daughter, Christy. Ace musicians Mark Schatz, Matt Wingate, and Bryan McDowell back her on this sterling 10-track offering.
Darius Rucker, Home For The Holidays—The 12-track album features Rucker’s renditions of songs including “Winter Wonderland” and “Please Home For Christmas.” One album highlight, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” features vocals from Sheryl Crow. The project also features two originals co-written by Rucker. “What God Wants for Christmas” was penned with Frank Rogers (who also produced the album) and Monty Criswell. “Candy Cane Christmas” was penned by Rucker, Rogers, and Steve Leslie.
Tim Rushlow, Tim Rushlow & His Big Band Classic Christmas—Former Little Texas lead singer Tim Rushlow offers a big band, Sinatra-style spin on 10 holiday favorites, as well as two songs penned by Rushlow specifically for the project. “What Do I Do With the Blue” and “A Soldier’s Gift” were penned by the singer with producer Jimmy Ritchey and Don Poythress.
Michael W. Smith & Friends, The Spirit of Christmas—Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Jennifer Nettles, Michael McDonald, Martina McBride, and U2’s Bono join legendary Christian artist Michael W. Smith for a mix of hymns and Christmas classics, backed by orchestral arrangements. Co-produced by Robert Deaton, Smith, and maestro David Hamilton.
Various Artists, Christmas With Nashville—The cast of ABC’s hit television drama Nashville get into the Christmas spirit on this Jay DeMarcus-produced project. Guest artist Vince Gill joins Charles Esten, who portrays “Deacon Claybourne” on the show, on the classic “Blue Christmas.”
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