Christmas

Merry Christmas: A Christmas Card Playlist

December 24, 2012 // 0 Comments

I know that we’d love to send each of you a Christmas card from us, but since we can’t, here is a playlist of Christmas songs to enjoy as a stand-in, which is probably better than any card we could send anyway.

These songs are hand-picked by me as songs that I find particularly relaxing, yet still entertaining, during the chaos of the Christmas season. I hope you enjoy.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day 12

December 25, 2011 // 6 Comments

Song #12: O Holy Night

Sam’s Pick: John Berry

If this list has shown anything, it’s that I’m partial to a good reworking of a Christmas standard – something that stands out from the hundreds of other versions.

But for “O Holy Night,” there is nothing like Berry’s simple, traditional, note-perfect version. It’s a particular favorite among golden-voiced singers like Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli, but Berry’s is the gold standard.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day 11

December 25, 2011 // 1 Comment

Song #11: Baby It’s Cold Outside

Leeann’s Pick: Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison

Husband and wife Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison turn in an unusually gritty version of this sultry Christmas classic. It’s not the smoothest version that’s out there, but it’s compelling and a little different, which should only be expected by the Robisons.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day 10

December 24, 2011 // 4 Comments

Song #10: Christmas Time’s A-Coming

Sam’s Pick: Peter Rowan

Admittedly, this is a much more recent song that some of the other songs we’ve covered. But this song, written by Tex Logan, has become a standard in the bluegrass and country world. I heard this version from Peter Rowan on a Sugar Hill Christmas sampler album many years ago, and it’s still my favorite. It’s a very relaxed, low-key version, but it still captures the joy of coming home for the holidays.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day Nine

December 23, 2011 // 1 Comment

Song #9: We Three Kings

Leeann’s Pick: George Strait

From Strait’s strongest and best Christmas album, his acoustic country version of “We Three Kings” is both beautifully arranged and reverently sung.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day Eight

December 22, 2011 // 2 Comments

Song #8: Joy to the World

Sam’s Pick: Patty Loveless

Loveless’ Bluegrass and White Snow is one of the best Christmas albums around and a staple of my holiday soundtrack. This song boasts background vocals from Jon Randall and Emmylou Harris, which proves that if you want to make a great song even better, get Emmylou to sing on it.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day Seven

December 21, 2011 // 3 Comments

Song #7: I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Leeann’s Pick: Dwight Yoakam

To be honest, this isn’t actually one of my favorite Christmas songs. Dwight Yoakam’s rhythmic version, however, is just funky enough for me to focus without getting bored.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day Six

December 20, 2011 // 3 Comments

Song #6: Silent Night

Sam’s Pick: Cherish the Ladies

In my opinion, “Silent Night” is the most beautiful of all Christmas carols. Here, the traditional Celtic band does a lovely interpretation of it, sung in both English and Gaelic. Former lead singer Heidi Talbot has a simply stunning voice, and the Ladies’ On Christmas Night is a worthwhile purchase for anyone who likes and few jigs and reels mixed in with their Christmas standards.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day Five

December 19, 2011 // 2 Comments

Song #5: Away in a Manger

Leeann’s Pick: Kelly Willis and Wylie Gustafson

A search of my iTunes indicates that I like many versions of this song, but the one that stands out the most to me is from a compilation called Christmas Trail by Wylie Gustafson and Kelly Willis. The mix of rootsy production, Willis’ twang and Gustafson’s Orbison-like harmony is impossible to resist.

Twelve Songs of Christmas: Day Four

December 18, 2011 // 4 Comments

Song #4: White Christmas

Sam’s Pick: Garth Brooks – For the ultimate version of this song, it’s hard to go wrong with Bing Crosby. But Garth’s jazzy, laid-back take on “White Christmas” is pretty excellent too. Fun fact: This song loses a lot of its charm once you’ve spent a Christmas night with your heart in your throat driving home after a blizzard but before the salt trucks have come out.

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