Now we’re into December it’s official – the Christmas Season has begun. And that means you can play all the Christmas songs you want to, without fear of being shamed by your friends and family!
We all love the classics we grew up hearing on the radio, but every year there are new album releases especially for an eager seasonal market. So here’s our choice of this year’s new Christmas collections from some of your favourite Country music artists – there’s sure to be something here for any yuletide occasion.
Brett Eldredge – Mr Christmas
If you loved Brett’s Glow album then you’ll be all-in for Mr Christmas. With a voice and delivery that’s practically custom made for the holiday season, Mr Christmas sees Brett deliver a swinging set of holiday standards topped off with a couple of self-penned tracks – Feels Like Christmas and the album’s title track. It’s the audio equivalent of warm mulled wine and gingerbread.
Perfect for:- Banishing the winter chill and bringing in the joy of the season
Cody Johnson – A Cody Johnson Christmas
Fiddles and steels abound in Cody Johnson’s first Christmas album. Sure, there’s a bluesy version of Santa Claus Is Back In Town and a crooner-style I’ll Be Home For Christmas, but it’s done with all the Lone Star feeling you’d want and expect. When you can make something as universal as Away In a Manger sound like a Texas standard, you must be onto something.
Perfect for:- Adding a little Texan tradition to your seasonal soundtrack
Pistol Annies – Hell Of A Holiday
If you’re in the mood for a little Christmas something that’s perhaps a little more subversive than most you’ll hear, then Pistol Annies are here to help. Fun, cheeky, sly and irreverent are the watchwords for Hell Of A Holiday – a title which harks back to the group’s debut Hell On Heels – from the 60’s happy-clappy girl group sound of Snow Globe to the reflective closing couplet of Joy and Auld Lang Syne, it’s a stylish and enjoyable album that should endure.
Perfect for:- Mixing a dash of salty seasoning in with all the holiday sugar and spice
Josh Turner – King Size Manger
Given the place his faith plays in his life and music, it’s perhaps surprising that King SizeManger is in fact Josh Turner’s first Christmas album. It’s a thoughtful set of songs, and Soldier’s Gift is sure to become an enduring favourite, but the likes of Mele Kalikimaka My Ohana and a swinging rendition of Joy To The World with Rhonda Vincent keep the mood light and cheery.
Perfect for:- Putting a little Christ into your Christmas preparations, and a smile on your face
Mitchell Tenpenny – Naughty List
Add 4 new tracks to last year’s Neon Christmas EP and by the magic of Christmas, you get Naughty List. There’s a pretty even split between classic Christmas tunes and Tenpenny co-writes, one highlight of which is I Hope It Snows delivered in tandem with his fiancée Meghan Patrick.
Perfect for:- Christmas with a Nashville “Now” sound.
Carrie Underwood – My Gift Special Edition
Carrie’s millions of fans gratefully recieved My Gift last year, and this special edition makes 3 new recordings available to add to Christmas playlists. Finally recording fan favourite All Is Well probably makes that the pick of the new tracks, although Favourite Time Of The Year is a joyous romp of a tune.
Perfect for:- A Christmas cocktail mix of Spirit and fizz
Randy Travis – An Old Time Christmas Deluxe Edition
Originally released in 1989, this remastered version of And Old Time Christmas includes 3 previously unreleased songs “from the vault”, including the Keith Whitley co-write There’s A New Kid In Town.
Perfect for:- Quite literally, an old time Christmas
Gary Allan – Please Come Home For Christmas
The recent (and welcome) re-emergence of Gary Allan continues with this 5 track seasonal EP. The pleading title track is a great setting for the distinctive growl in his voice, and there’s plenty of festive fun to be found on a swinging (It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus and the slinky, saucy Let’s Be Naughty (And Save Santa The Trip).
Perfect for:- When you’ve only a few minutes spare for a bit of seasonal fun.
Lori McKenna – Christmas Is Right Here
It’s always a brave choice to meddle with a well-loved classic song, but in the hands of a skilled songsmith like Lori McKenna can take Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime and make it her own without losing the original. Much of the remainder of the Christmas Is Right Here EP reflects maturely on what is for many people a very poignant and emotional time of year.
Perfect for:- Pausing amid all the frantic activity over the Nativity season