BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
There are Christmas albums, and then there are Christmas albums.
It turns out that making one has been a lifelong ambition of emerging country star Chris Young.
“I love Christmas; I love Christmas music; I love Christmas so much that it’s the only time I won’t tour,” he said on Tuesday evening (Oct. 11) at the Avenue venue downtown.
“I know this is only a ‘hang’ but it is not an exaggeration when I say that I’ve always wanted to make a Christmas album. This whole album – top to bottom – really has my heart in it.
“It wasn’t Christmas in our house, until I played the Honky Tonk Christmas album by Alan Jackson.” That album included Alan singing Keith Whitley’s “There’s a New Kid in Town.” So Chris was beyond thrilled to sing the song with Alan on his own It Must Be Christmas collection.
“Brad Paisley: I texted him, and he was the first person to respond to me,” said Chris proudly. They collaborate on the record’s “The First Noel.”
“It’s so cool that we got Boyz II Men on this record.” They are featured on Chris’s performance of “Silent Night.”
Chris Young co-wrote both “Under the Weather” and “It Must Be Christmas” for the album.
The star and I chatted about our favorite holiday albums and agreed that among our essentials were ones by The Beach Boys, Bing Crosby and Phil Spector. Chris covers the last-named’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on his collection.
As those tunes and the rest of the CD played over the sound system as the fabulons mingled. The crowd included Bob Doerschuk, Bob Paxman, Hunter Kelly, Ken Robold, Rick Murray, Cindy Watts (who has been covering Chris since she began her reporter career in his hometown paper in Murfreesboro), Ron Huntsman, Bill Catino, Lauren Tingle, Tom Luteran, Sarah Trahern, Steve Buchanan, Shanna Strassberg (with her visiting mom from Oregon), Sherod Robertson, Charlie Cook, John Marks, Gayle Thompson of The Boot, Paul Barnabee, Becky Harris and Beville Dunkerley.
They/we snacked on spiced meatballs, chicken biscuits, ham biscuits, BBQ pork biscuits, Christmas cookies and sweets. It’s a wonder we don’t all weigh 300 pounds from going to these things.
“Merry Christmas everybody, and welcome,” said Randy Goodman greeting the party people. He urged everybody to vote for Chris and Cassadee Pope in the CMA Awards balloting for their stupendous entry in the Musical Event category. I already did.
“If you haven’t had a chance to listen to it, it’s an amazing album,” Randy added about Chris’s holiday disc. “This is one of the most exciting projects I’ve gotten to work on over the past 15 months.” He added humorously that his only “work” on the record was to ask Chris to make it. Before the request was even out of the mouth of manager Larry Fitzgerald, Chris blurted, “I’m IN!”
“I could talk for another two hours about this record,” said Chris Young. “I hope you enjoy listening to it half as much as we enjoyed making it.”