The more humbugged among us might argue that we could get through the rest of civilization without another Christmas song ever getting released — the canon is deep, and sprawling, and around this time of year, blaring through every speaker in the free world.
But for those of us who don’t mind feeling a little festive, Christmas music is a yuletide mood enhancer that forever belongs at the table, right alongside the cranberry sauce and presents.
Every year, I look out for new entries in the Christmas music world, with a particular focus on Nashville. Conveniently, we tend to offer more new Christmas albums than just about any other place, so it’s not hard.
Here, five from the 2016 crop that are worth a listen while you deck the halls.
New Christmas music from (or connected to) Nashville
Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, Christmas Together
Christmas being a family-togetherness time and all, it’s fitting that the first couple of contemporary country music, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, would pull together a Christmas album. The two country superstars mix it up on the new/fittingly titled Christmas Together — she leads some of the tracks, he leads others, they team on a bunch. The track listing is a blend of old favorites and new tunes written by Brooks, too. Above, the couple offers a live version of “Baby it’s Cold Outside” during the Christmas in Rockefeller Center festivities.
Loretta Lynn, White Christmas Blue
Country legend Loretta Lynn waited a long time between Christmas releases — her last one, Country Christmas, preceded the new White Christmas Blue by 50 years. Unsurprisingly, this is a perfectly classic tree-trimming soundtrack, with “White Christmas,” “Silent Night” and other chestnuts, plus some fresher cuts — like the title track, up above, a new Christmas classic in the making for sure.
Kacey Musgraves, A Very Kacey Christmas
East Nashville-based country voice Kacey Musgraves has enjoyed an eventful handful of years, including multiple Grammy wins, and her first Christmas album shows off why she’s been such a success — massive talent, great taste. A Very Kacey Christmas features four new tracks — among them “A Willie Nice Christmas,” featuring the Williest Willie that ever Willied — plus a well-picked crop of classics, including “Christmas Don’t Be Late” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It’s all mistletoe-tappingly good.
Jimmy Buffett, 'Tis the SeaSon
The mayor of Margaritaville isn’t a Nashvillian, but he kicked his massive career off here, and his Hawaiian shirt-style pop remains a favorite here (and most everywhere else). 'Tis the SeaSon — his second Christmas album, coming 20 years after his first one, Christmas Island — mixes standards and new tracks that inject a little humor into the holiday. (Starts with the title — get it, “Sea-Son,” because beachy stuff?) Give a listen to the strummy, fun new “Santa Stole Thanksgiving" up above.
Chris Young, It Must Be Christmas
The pride of Murfreesboro, country star Chris Young, delivered his first Christmas album this year, too, and like so many others, it features lots of familiar tunes and a little helping of freshness. It Must Be Christmas also includes an impressive cache of guests joining Young on the LP. Not too much of a surprise: his duets with fellow country singers Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson. More of a surprise: Young’s collaboration on "Silent Night" with R&B/pop group Boyz II Men, up above for your Christmas listening pleasure.
Hope some of these make their way onto the 2016 Christmas playlist in your home — or at least help wash away some of the Christmas muzak the mall’s been subjecting you to.
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