I LOVE Christmas music, decorating, baking, sending/getting Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, and watching Christmas movies. It's such a magical time of year. It is only right that I begin with the tunes. It would seem that EVERY artist is releasing a Christmas album this year. Garth and Tricia, Kacey, Brett, Rascal Flatts, Lauren Alaina, Jessie James, so on and so on. It can be difficult to sift through what is going to be classic, new or fit with your holiday style from what is going to be the same ol' same ol' just with different vocalists and arrangements. So, know this, I am only recommending tunes I have listened to and truly love!! Most of them will be appearing on a mix tape I plan to make for several friends who will be doing a lot of traveling.
Starting with Kacey Musgraves', "A Very Kacey Christmas". I have been anticipating the release of this album for months and I tell you I am not one bit disappointed. Kacey, once again, as always, delivered!!!! This time wrapped with ribbons and bows. This album is already one of my favorites and is going to be one that stands the test of time with me. It isn't the average, run of the mill, "Go Rest Ye", or "Santa is Coming to Town" set of jams. Musgraves sticks with her unique style with this holiday offering and shares tracks such as "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas", "Feliz Navidad", "A Willie Nice Christmas" which features none other than Willie Nelson of course. I legit encourage you to get this album and make it apart of your Christmas/Holiday season. Today I am going to share, "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas". Anyone that follows me on Facebook knows that I have had this stuck in my head since Tuesday.
Kacey Musgraves - "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas"
fr "A Very Kacey Christmas"
Brett Eldredge - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Brett Eldredge also released a Christmas album this year, "Glow". It can be found anywhere music is sold, but the cut that Target is selling has 3 bonus tracks that others do not. I have high expectations when it comes to a Christmas album from Brett. He is a crooner. A country music Frank Sinatra. So, I wasn't 100% what his album might end up being like. Classic is going to be a word I use to describe it. I think that he amped up his crooner and holiday spirit for this one and it's kinda a dreamy, slow jams for the holidays' kind of album.
What is a Christmas mix tape with out Mariah Carey? It's not a Christmas mix tape is what it is....or isn't. "All I Want for Christmas is You", has been sung at every coffee house, open mic night, holiday office karaoke party EVER!!!!! "Merry Christmas" by Mariah is the highest grossing Christmas album of all time. It was released in 1994 and has only grown in it's popularity as the years progress. It has found a new audience being available on streaming services and download sites like iTunes.
Mariah Carey - "All I Want for Christmas is You"
fr "Merry Christmas"
Christina Aguilera - "Oh Holy Night"
fr "My Kind of Christmas"
I feel that another voice that has to be heard in the Holiday season is Xtina's. Girl can sang. Let's just get that out of the way right now. No matter her style, song choices, movie roles, judging abilities on The Voice. None of that matters when girl can SANG!!!! When "My Kind of Christmas" was released in 2000 I thought that it might be a contender against Mariah's, "Merry Christmas". While it did well, Mariah can SANG too and so "Merry Christmas" remains champion of Christmas music. But, I would say when it comes to popular artists that Christina's, "My Kind of Christmas" is a solid second. I will be including several of her songs on my mix as well.
Earlier I mentioned Brett Eldrege's, "Glow" as a possible classic. While we are in the vicinity of classic I obviously have to bring up Bing Crosby. If you think Christmas and do not hear Bing singing, "White Christmas" immediately, then something is broken in your head. "White Christmas", is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I love that it is old. I love that it has been edited with Technicolor. I love that it has stood the test of time. I LOVE Bing, singing "White Christmas" in that Santa suit, the sisters in their beautiful costumes and the ballerina with red toe shoes. I always thought they where the most beautiful ballet shoes ever to be created!!!
Bing Crosby - "White Christmas"
fr "White Christmas"
Rosemary Clooney - "Jingle Bells"
fr "Classic Christmas"
Rosemary Clooney, aunt to George, is Bing's female co-star in "White Christmas". She is stunning and her vocals can't be compared. I have a Christmas compellation CD called, "Classic Christmas" with tunes by Bing, Rosemary, and Gene Autry just to name a few. I think that any Christmas mix should include some classic Christmas by the greats.
I added a new Christmas mix to my library called "Nashville Christmas". It is the favorites sung by a variety of country artists. Hunger Hayes, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton, Jana Kramer, Lee Brice, Fankie Ballard, and more. It is a fun mix of church Christmas music, old favorites like, "Up On the Roof Top". There is also Jeff Foxworthy's "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas" to spice things up. I am sharing Hunter Hayes cover of "Go Tell it on the Mountain", with you today. I think Hunter is an amazingly talented writer, composer, instrumentalist and arranger. He has had number one's, but I think we are still yet to see...er hear...all that he is capable of. Give his cover of this classic a listen and then head to the store to get, "Nashville Christmas".
Hunter Hayes - "Go Tell it on the Mountain"
fr "Nashville Christmas"
A Fine Frenzy - "Blue Christmas"
fr "Oh Blue Christmas"
I got A Fine Frenzy's, "Oh Blue Christmas" at a used music store over five years ago. It immediately became one of my favorites. More of an EP it only has about 6 or so songs on it, but they are so perfectly dreary and melancholy that I can't help, but to listen to it on repeat. It isn't the typical, all up beat, fa-la-la-la-la, Christmas album, but it is one that I'm forever gonna love. Her cover of Elvis', "Blue Christmas" is so opposite of the original I can't help to adore it. I'm a large pendulum swing kind of girl when it comes to the things that I like and don't like. It's just who I am. Give it a listen and add A Fine Frenzy's, "Oh Blue Christmas" to your list of things to keep an eye out for at used music stores.
Because I am so in love with this album I feel I HAVE to add at least one more track from, "A Very Kacey Christmas". This one is an original called, "Ribbons and Bows", a fun upbeat, Christmas love song. I'm not usually a love song kind of girl, but this one is filled with enough spunk and sass that even I like it. I really hope that the two Kacey Christmas tunes posted this week will encourage you to check out the rest of the album. This week it was released on vinyl and is GREEN!!! She really is just the bestest at being so very herself!!
Kacey Musgraves - "Ribbons and Bows"
fr "A Very Kacey Christmas"
Vince Guaraldi - "Linus and Lucy"
fr "Charlie Brown Christmas"
I think the best way to end this mix tape list is with Vince Guaraldi's, "Linus and Lucy" from "A Charlie Brown Christmas. No lyrics. Just instrumental and yet it can get the Christmas feels all stirred up inside. It makes me thing of a simpler, easier, more innocent times. A time when Santa was still real, I left carrots for his reindeer, and was a angel on the church's float in the town Christmas parade. It was so cold!! This angel wore long johns and jeans under her angel dress. I can recall not being able to feel my nose or fingers when it was all said and done. But alas, that's what the season, this sound track and I mean, life for that matter, is for, memory making.
I hope this list inspires your Christmas listening this season and perhaps even gives you some new tunes to sing along to. Happy Thanksgiving Week!! Merry Christmas!! and as always, Happy New Music Monday!!!!