Yes, it’s finally here! The holiday season has begun and the new crop of holiday music is starting to be released. I love this time of year. In October artists start releasing their holiday albums all the way till November. This year there are pretty slim pickings. I think I’ll be buying less than a handful of albums this holiday season. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I go all out for the holidays, movies, music, decor, food you name it, we do it.
This year there are a few holiday regulars with new albums, like Susan Boyle, Il Divo, Martina McBride and Neil Diamond. I am excited for Kelly Clarkson’s follow up to her 2011 cover of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Her new holiday album “Wrapped in Red” is a must buy for all. I’ve loved Kelly’s voice ever since her idol days and she seems to get better and better with age. Can’t wait to hear her rendition of “My Favorite Things” and her trio cover of “Silent Night” with Reba and Trisha Yearwood.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Mary J Blige and I am interested in hearing her new “A Merry Christmas” album before I buy it. But there were a few other R&B artists the last couple of years, the were kind of a dud. But I can’t wait to listen to her new CD and maybe buy it. I am always a sucker for good Johnny Mathis holiday album and “ Sending You a Little Christmas” sounds like a great new album. Mind you he also has a duet with Susan Boyle. Other duet partners are with Natalie Cole, Nilly Joel and the hot ticket lady of the moment, Gloria Estefan. Now there is no question without a doubt I will buy the new Barbra Streisand album, okay it’s a compilation of her first two holiday albums, 1967 “A Christmas Album” and her 2001 “Christmas Memories” album. You have to give it to the woman, she’s still going at it even though she’s jewish! It’s always nice to send a few bucks in Barbra’s direction now and then. WE LOVE YOU BARBRA!
Two other classics are releasing new albums, with the passing of Andy Williams last Fall. His label is releasing a two-disc complete Christmas Recordings album. Andy is still one of my all time favorite holiday crooners. Even though he was never friendly with the gays and branded Obama a Marxists, although I think he could never really explain what a Marxists was, other than someone who wants to destroy America. Maybe I shouldn’t buy his album, technically I have all those songs.
One old voice I was also raised on and very supportive of the gays, is Judy Collins. Her new album has all the songs she recorded for her “All on a Wintry Night” album back in 2000. The new album “Christmas with Judy Collins” only has two new songs on it. She opens and closes with the two songs, “Angels in the Snow” & “Ave Maria”. If you already have wintry night, then just download the extra songs and save yourself $10.00. All in all, I love listening to Judy during the holidays. A staple from childhood and today.
The last album I am excited to see come out this season is Joshua Bell’s “Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends”. If you have no clue who Joshua Bell is, he is an amazing violinist who has made a name for himself in the music mainstream. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him play a couple of time in SF and NYC. This new album of pairs Joshua’s amazing violin craft with some of the most amazing voices today. I expect you will be hearing this album alot on the radio and in the stores. Especially excited to here Kristen Chenoweth sing “O Holy Night” one of my top 5 favorites. Other artists featured on the album are Branford Marsalis, Renee Fleming, Michael Feinestein, Gloria “She Gets Around” Estefan & Allison Krauss.
And for all you people who watch “Duck Dynasty” on TV, the Robertson Family has recorded their first album titles “Duck the Halls: a Robertson Family Christmas”. Yes, there I’ve said it! No I have never watched the show but I did see some docu on the series and how most critics believe the family is more white color than redneck. Anyway, they made an album as well and no it won’t be in my shopping cart. Till the 2014 holiday music season, enjoy the tunes.