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Strictly Country Northwoods Country Christmas Christmas Music reviews

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1982 - BMG Entertainment. What made Alabama so popular was their unique way to capture the essence of the common, middle class, blue collar worker. When Alabama released this album in 1982, we were treated to a Christmas album that featured that same essence mixed in with the Dixie family style Christmas. This Christmas album is like no other with it's beautiful ballads like "Christmas Memories," and "Joseph and Mary's Boy." The album opens with a great song that will allow you to capture the Christmas Spirit with "Santa Claus (I Still Believe In You)." Then we come upon the song that truly captures the essence, beliefs and style of Alabama as they share how Christmas is spent, even in war, in the beautiful song "Tonight Is Christmas." This album has a song for everyone including a fun song for children called "Thistlehair The Christmas Bear." Where as in "Tennessee Christmas," Alabama sings about a typical Christmas in Tennessee where snow is rare. Many of us travel at Christmas to return home to family and friends. For many years, people would place a candle in the window as a beacon for their families to find their way home. It was especially popular during wars to lead their loved ones home. Alabama captures this age old tradition in the song "A Candle In The Window." However, the song that became the most popular off of this album was the closing song in "Christmas In Dixie." Throughout the entire album, Alabama treats us with fresh new songs that were soon to become some of our favorite Christmas carols. The feeling that you get from this album is the feeling of a real Christmas that is celebrated by your average middle working class families. It's an album that you can listen too over and over and never get sick of. It's an album filled with songs that make you think about what Christmas is truly about. $$$$$+


A Baillie Family Christmas
Kathie Baillie

2006 - Aspirion Records Group, Inc. In 2006, Kathie Baillie released her first album, "Love's Funny That Way," in years. To supplement that album, Baillie released this beautiful Christmas EP. Kathie is another on the ever growing list of unappreciated entertainers. Her vocals are clearly angelic, especially when she is singing Christmas carols. She truly puts her emotions into the song as she performs it. This EP features five great songs. The EP opens with a live version of "The Christmas Song." Kathie performs this in the traditional way with her beautiful vocals. The second song is a beautiful ballad called "In A Manger." Kathie performs this in solo vocals with no instrumentals, which only gives proof to her vocal abilities. The harmonies are perfectly tight. The EP continues with another beautiful ballad that tells the Christmas story in "On A Night Like This." This is a song that once you hear it, you will truly enjoy every aspect of the song. It is truly a beautiful song. The song "Silent Night" was written after the organ in a German village was broken. Very few entertainers can truly sing this song the way it was written. Kathie Baillie is one. She opens this song by singing the first verse as a solo with no instrumental accompaniment. As the song progresses, selected instrumentals are added to bring this old song new life. The song ends as it begins with Kathie's solo vocals. The EP ends with one of the most beautiful Christmas love ballads in "Come Back This Christmas." This EP makes me ask for more from this multi talented entertainer. It's an album that features everything there is when it comes to Christmas and if you listen to it in it's entirety, you will be treated to a special gift. $$$$$+


Christmas Live
John Berry

2002 - John Berry. John Berry is among the entertainers who are great storytellers. Whether it's through song or just vocally he can tell a story that will capture your heart. The nice thing about this album is that it's recorded live which captures John's storytelling ability. This album contains many of the traditional Christmas carols including "O Come All Ye Faithful," "O Come Emmanuel," "Winter Wonderland," "O Holy Night," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and many more. He also includes new songs like "My Heart Is Bethlehem," and "Christmas Morning." Prior to performing many of these songs, John shares a special story about the song or his past Christmases. The beauty of the album is that John keeps the tradition in each song. The difficulty in listening to this album is that John is a sentimentalist and this album can sound depressing at times. But in the end, hearing John performing these classic Christmas songs while keeping the tradition in them makes for a beautiful album. $$$$+


Garth Brooks & The Magic of Christmas
Garth Brooks

1999 - Capital Records. What makes Garth Brooks great is his uncanny ability to know how a song should be performed. This is the case with this incredible album filled with traditional Christmas carols. The album opens with a fun version of "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year," and continues with "Let It Snow," "The Christmas Song," and "White Christmas." Other traditional Christmas carols included on this album are "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Silver Bells," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," and "Winter Wonderland." Garth also includes two new songs. The first, "Baby Jesus Is Born," is an up beat song about the story of Christ's birth. The second new song, "The Wise Men's Journey," is a short instrumental that is packed with pure emotion. Sometimes the best song is a song that has no vocals attached to it. This is the case with this beautiful instrumental. Throughout this entire album, Garth performs these classic Christmas carols with an upbeat, celebrated feel. This is an album that will certainly get you going and one to enjoy for years to come. $$$$$+


It Won't Be Christmas Without You
Brooks & Dunn

2002 - ARISTA. Brooks and Dunn have provided us with many incredible country rock songs. Now it's time to hear them perform Christmas carols. I'm not sold on this album. It opens with the a southern rock version of Winter Wonderland. It's different and somewhat refreshing. The album continues with a fun love song with "Hangin' 'Round The Mistletoe." The duo slows it down for the title track. The next song is "Rockin' Little Christmas," which is performed in a 1950's style rock. This is where the album goes south. Brooks & Dunn's version of "Blue Christmas," is not that good while it's performed in a Caribbean style. I'm open to new versions of old classics, but that really sounds bad. The album continues with another 1950's style rock song in "Santa's Coming Over To Your House." The album also includes several other classics like "The Christmas Song," "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and "White Christmas." This album really does not have the Christmas spirit to get the listener into the Christmas mood. Really Christmas music is all about getting you into the Christmas spirit. This album is more about celebrating at a party. In fact, I will recommend this album for your Christmas parties. As for at home, I just can not see it. In fact, I can not see myself ever listening to this one again. $$$-$$$$


Make It Christmas
Rodney Carrington

2009 - Capitol Records. What is so special about Rodney Carrington is that he captures the long forgotten essence of Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack. This album has a base line of Frank Sinatra while the mainline is that of Rodney. This is one beautiful album. It has several classic Christmas Carols like "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Mary Did You Know," and "Oh Holy Night." All of them are performed with a traditional feel. However, there are other songs that stand out more. The first is "Grown Up Christmas List," a beautiful ballad that brings us on journey of what the average adult would truly wish for. Where as "The Presents Under The Tree (Better Be For Me)," is your fun typical Frank Sinatra style Christmas song. Where as "Make It Christmas" is a beautiful ballad that reminds us that we need to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas all year round. Which brings us to the top two songs that truly stand out. The first is "Presence of Love," a beautiful ballad that reminds us that the best gift that we can give and receive is Love. Christmas is all about love. Which brings us to the best song on this album. "Camouflage And Christmas Lights," is a song that makes us explore the life of a soldier at Christmas. It's this song as well as all the others that make me want to listen to this album over and over again. Rodney brings us on a journey through a Traditional, a modern and even a soldier's Christmas. It's a journey that you will want to take over and over again. $$$$$++


Christmas With Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash

1963 - Sony Music Entertainment. There are very few entertainers who actually get what a classic Christmas carol should sound like. Johnny Cash is one of them. With his deep resinating vocals mixed with his deep Christian beliefs, Johnny performs each of the classic Christmas carols with respect, heart and joy. This is well displayed in "Hark The Herald Angels Sing." Mr. Cash keeps with the tradition when he opens this beautiful album with "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day." He continues with one of my favorite carols in "The Christmas Guest." Johnny adds a few new songs that he wrote. The first, "The Gifts They Gave," is a beautiful ballad about the gifts that were given to the Christ child. The second is a beautiful song, "Christmas As I Knew It," in which Johnny reminisces about his childhood Christmases. Where as The "Christmas Spirit," takes us on a journey of how other countries celebrate Christmas. Other beautiful songs on this traditional album include a powerful version of "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Blue Christmas," "Away In A Manger," "Silent Night," and "Merry Christmas Mary." In the end, your heart will be renewed with the Christian belief of Christmas. This is one album to enjoy and keep within your heart all year round. Gather with your family and friends, share with them the true meaning behind this beautiful holiday. $$$$$+


The Christmas Spirit
Johnny Cash

1996 - Sony Music Entertainment. Even though Johnny Cash had his faults, he still was a dedicated Christian. Who better to sing about Christmas than a dedicated Christian. The album opens with a Johnny Cash original in the title track. In this beautiful ballad, Johnny takes us on a journey to show us how others across the world celebrate Christmas. Johnny includes another original with "The Gifts They Gave," a wonderful Christmas carol that explores the gifts that were given to the Christ child. Where as in "We Are The Shepherds," another Cash original, is a song that explores what the shepherds felt and gave to the Christ child. In fact, the entire album truly captures the real story of Christmas, in a Christian belief. Other songs include "The Little Drummer Boy," "Silent Night," and "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day." However, Johnny Cash shares his childhood Christmases in songs like "Christmas As I Knew It," and "The Ballad of The Harp Weaver." In this album, Johnny Cash has captured what a real Christmas was like in older days. When Christmas meant more than giving and receiving gifts. When Christmas meant love, and the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. Take the journey back and keep the the truth about Christmas alive with this beautiful Christmas album. Johnny Cash keeps the story alive with his music. Now it's time for you to keep it alive with your family and friends. $$$$$+


All I Want For Christmas
Is A Real Good Tan
Kenny Chesney

2003 - BMG Music. Kenny Chesney brings us to a celebration of Christmas, Caribbean style with this album. At first listen, all I thought about is how Kenny has no respect for Christmas music. But, the more I listen, I will admit that I am wrong. I guess that I'm a traditionalist. Where as Kenny is just sharing with us how someone else celebrates Christmas. The album opens with the title track, a beautiful Christmas ballad of love. The album continues with Kenny's Caribbean version of "Jingle Bells." It's refreshing version that many will enjoy. Chesney slows it down with another Caribbean version of an old classic, "I'll Be Home For Christmas." This is where I believe that the album heads south, no pun intended. Kenny re-records an Alabama Christmas classic with "Christmas In Dixie." This song is synonymous with Alabama. Therefore, I believe that Kenny should not have recorded it. However, I will state that his version is performed quite well. Then again, he gains the help from former Alabama member Randy Owen. Kenny does it again by re-recording an old Eddy Raven song that was made famous by The Oak Ridge Boys with "Thank God For Kids." I will say that Kenny's version is more up beat and pleasant to listen too. He also includes his version of Willie Nelson's signature Christmas song "Pretty Paper." Kenny stays with the original version as much as he can. But, it's the help of Willie Nelson that brings this song back to the way that Willie wrote it. Kenny returns to the Caribbean with his version of Silver Bells. In this version Kenny stays with the traditional performance, however in the background you hear the Caribbean beat. There are three songs on this album that makes me believe that Kenny respects Christmas. The first is "Just A Kid," a beautiful ballad that explores how a child can be a king. Simply beautiful, especially with Kenny's unique vocals. Kenny returns to Christmas love with "The Angel At The Top of My Tree." This is one carol that you need to share with your loved one. He also includes one of the most beautiful versions of Silent Night on this unique album. However, it's the closing song that brings me to my knees. Never have I heard such a beautiful version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" as this one is. In the deep background you will hear an orchestra, while in the foreground there is a piano playing the simple tune. Now mix that with Kenny Chesney's vocals performing in the traditional style. This album is completely worth the cost, just to hear this song. I am always looking for the best songs and the best versions of traditional songs. I believe that I have found it in Kenny Chesney's version of this classic Christmas carol. I will place this version on top of the highest pedestal. Take a trip to the Caribbean, but don't forget the real reason of the season. $$$$$+


Dream A Dream
Charlotte Church

2000 - Sony Music Entertainment. Here is a perfect example of a great Christmas album gone wrong. This album contains nineteen beautiful classic Christmas carols. Carols that include "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "The Little Drummer Boy," "Winter Wonderland," "What Child Is This?," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "O Holy Night," and many more. The instrumentals in every song are pure genus. What makes this album so horrible is Charlotte Church's vocals. They are so high pitched that they are on the brink of breaking the listener's ear drums. If only she could bring her vocals down an octave, we could truly enjoy this album. Personally, I would love to hear the album without Charlotte's vocals. The only fairly decent song on this album is "Ave Maria." But, I believe there is a better version out there. The album does open with a duet with Billy Gilman in "Dream A Dream." You can understand Billy's vocals, but Charlotte's it's hard to understand. If you enjoy opera and high pitched vocals, then this one is for you. As for the rest of us, we'll just leave it on the store shelf. $$$


Joy To The World
A Bluegrass Christmas
Charlie Daniels & Friends

2009 - Blue Hat Records. Leave it to Charlie Daniels to gather up some talented entertainers to provide us with hours of up lifting, soul cleansing Christmas music. Charlie gains the help from The Grascals in the opening song, "Christmas Time's A Comin'." Where as Aaron Tippin brings us on a journey of a southern Christmas in "Christmas Time Down South." The only thing missing from this beautiful song is snow. When I see that an entertainer has included the song "Blue Christmas" on their album, I automatically think of Elvis Presley's version of this classic song. Leave it to Mr. Daniels to find the right entertainer to perform this old song. It's Jewel's vocals that truly bring this old song back to life. In fact, I believe that this version is about the best I have heard so far. Charlie Daniels continues with a beautiful song in "Mississippi Christmas Eve." But, I'm not quite sold on Dan Tyminski's version of "The Christmas Song." However, I am sold on Kathy Mattea's up beat version of "O Come All Ye Faithful." The same goes for Evelyn Cox's up beat version of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." But it's Charlie Daniels version of "Joy To The World," that truly puts the joy back into my heart. Charlie is a devote Christian and this album would not be complete without the recitation of The Christmas Story from the Book of Luke. Again, I'm not quite sold on the up beat version of Suzanne Cox's "Silent Night." However, when I take a look back through this album it's nice to hear an up beat Christmas album. Especially, at a time when depression can slowly take over one's heart. There are two remarkable songs on this incredible album. The first is a beautiful song with "Hallelujah." It's Charlie's unique vocals mixed with the Bluegrass picking that make this song jump right off the cd. In the end, it's the second song - well more of a recitation, by Charlie, that brings this entire album together. "A Carolina Christmas Carol" story, approximately ten minutes long, is sure to fill your heart with joy while bringing a happy tear to your eyes. This CD also comes with a DVD called "A Twin Pines Christmas" that includes live performances and interviews with each of the entertainers on the CD. This album is one of those that will renew your heart, mind, body and soul with the spirit and joy of the season. When you purchase this one, you are receiving one of the greatest gifts - the gift of hope through music. $$$$$+++


Christmas Like A Lullaby
John Denver

1996 - Delta Music Inc. For many years John Denver had entertained us with his unique yet pristine vocals. Now, is the time to celebrate a traditional Christmas with this beautiful Christmas album. This album features all the great classics like "The First Noel," "Jingle Bells," "White Christmas," "Little Drummer Boy," "Blue Christmas," "The Christmas Song," and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." John sticks to performing these songs in the traditional way. With the exception of "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer." In John's version, he has children singing with him, which is fine. However, these children add their own smart aleck remarks to the song. Some may enjoy this, however, some may not want their children to hear these remarks. But there is one song that stands out the most. "Marvelous Toy," is a wonderful and fun song that all children will enjoy. It's a song that almost reminds me of the movie "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory." It sort of has a Willy Wonka feel to it. In the end, John Denver gives us a classic style Christmas album. $$$$$


Rocky Mountain Christmas
John Denver

1998 - RCA Records. Again, John Denver treats us to another beautiful Christmas album. In this album, John truly captures a Rocky Mountain, Colorado Christmas. The album includes several traditional Christmas carols with "Silver Bells," "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," "The Christmas Song," "Away In A Manger," "What Child Is This," "Oh Holy Night," "Silent Night, Holy Night," "Jingle Bells," and "White Christmas." However, it's the other 'new' songs that truly capture this Rocky Mountain Christmas. Especially, with "Christmas For Cowboys," a song that shares with us the days of old when cowboys would celebrate Christmas while on a cattle drive. The "Coventry Carol," is a soft, gentle, old and traditional song. Where as "A Baby Just Like You," is a story performed in a gentle way. Just as "The Music Is You," is a short song that will move you, musically. If it's love that you seek this Christmas, learn all about it in "Perhaps Love." For many of us, Christmas is about dreaming. Come dream with John Denver in "Dreamland Express." Throughout this album, John gives us a wonderful collection of traditional and modern Christmas Carols. However, there is one song that stands out the most. Not because of it's beauty but because of it's harsh message. "Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)," speaks about a father who spends Christmas drunk and hurting the ones that he loves. If you take this song away from this album, you will be able to enjoy a beautiful, fun and almost relaxing Christmas album. I do have to take into consideration that song when it comes to grading this album. With the song I grade it at a $$$. Without that song it would be a $$$$.


A Christmas Together
John Denver & The Muppets

1990 - Windstar Records. Over the years, The Muppets have entertained us with their unique, fun antics. Now they team up with one of Country Music's most prolific entertainers, John Denver. This combination is pure entertainment. Especially with songs like "Twelve Days of Christmas," "Christmas Is Coming," "Deck The Halls," "Silent Night, Holy Night," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," when performed by Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Robin, Floyd, Lew Zealand, Scooter, Beaker, The Great Gonzo, Zoot Beauregard, and Kermit The Frog. The only two that are missing are the two old guys from the balcony. John Denver also includes "The Peace Carol," "A Baby Just Like You," "Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913," and "Medley: Alfie: The Christmas Tree, Carol For A Christmas Tree and It's In Everyone Of Us." In the end, it is nice to return to one's childhood when The Muppets were truly our way of entertainment. I am so happy that The Muppets still inspire and entertain new generations. Have a little fun this year with this entertaining album! $$$$$


A Diamond Rio Christmas
The Star Still Shines
Diamond Rio

2007 - Curb Records. Diamond Rio is well known for their unique vocals and tight harmonies. This album features that with classic Christmas carols like "The Christmas Song," "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Sleigh Ride." However, what this album is missing is the heart and soul of Christmas. Rio performs each song well, but each song lacks feeling. It's hard to listen to a Christmas song that has no soul to it. I will say though that the title track is a beautiful song. Rio also includes two songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas television show with "Christmas Is Coming," and "Christmas Time Is Here." In the end, I do have to say pass this one by because of the lack of emotions. To create a beautiful Christmas album, you must have emotions. For Christmas is all about emotions. $$$-$$$$


Redneck 12 Days of Christmas
Here's Your Sign Christmas
Jeff Foxworthy
Bill Engvall

1998 - Warner Bros. Records Inc. Leave it up to Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall to bring us two songs to make us smile during this stressful season. Jeff Foxworthy entertains us with his Redneck version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas." Where as Bill Engvall points out the obvious in his "Here's Your Sign Christmas." Sometimes you just have to pull this EP out and have a few laughs. I'm sure all of us can totally relate to one if not both of these songs! Enjoy! $$$$$++


Breath Of Heaven
Vince Gill

1998 - MCA Records. Vince Gill teams up with Patrick Williams and his orchestra to provide us with a beautiful collection of classic Christmas carols. This collection features "Winter Wonderland," "O Holy Night," "O Come All Ye Faithful," and "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." However, I question Vince's performance. In "O Little Town of Bethlehem" he keeps mispronouncing Bethlehem which really makes this beautiful classic carol sound horrible. In fact all through the entire album there are slight instances like this that truly bring down each of these beautiful carols. It almost sounds like Vince is trying to hard to make the perfect Christmas album, but the result is completely opposite. The song, "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year," is an uplifting song that should be performed in a light and airy feel. However, Vince Gill's vocals sound like they are dragging. Where as the music is performed correctly with that light and airy feel. In fact, I would suggest that Patrick Williams and his orchestra should re-record this album without Vince. The only song that really sounds alright is Vince's version of "Blue Christmas." Vince includes two new songs on this album. The first, "A Cradle In Bethlehem," now in this beautiful ballad, Vince actually pronounces 'Bethlehem' correctly. However, Vince sounds like he is holding his emotions and vocals back. I feel sorry for the two authors of this beautiful ballad. It is a beautiful song that really needs the right entertainer to bring it to life. The second new song is the title track. Co-written by Vince's wife, Amy Grant, this is another beautiful ballad that again needs a different entertainer to sing it to bring it to life. In the end, the music and instrumentals are perfect. However, when you add Vince's vocals, you get a bad combination. Unless you are truly a Vince Gill fan, then you need to pass this one by. $$$-$$$1/2


Classic Christmas
Billy Gilman

2000 - Epic Records. Leave it up to a child to bring a touch of youth to this collection of classic Christmas carols. With his youthful vocals, Billy Gilman brings new life to such classics as "White Christmas," Jingle Bell Rock," "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," "Silent Night," "Away In A Manger," and "Angels We Have Heard On High." Billy does an incredible job in "Winter Wonderland" with his youthful vocals. He also adds a new song called "Warm & Fuzzy" to the collection. Billy gains the help from Charlotte Church in "Sleigh Ride." Although the vocal collaboration is quite good, it's Billy's vocals that bring it all together. Gilman includes his version of "There's A New Kid In Town." His version is rather good, but it does not match to Trisha Yearwood's. The song that stands out the most on this Classic Christmas album would have to be the closing song "O Holy Night." Billy performs this one with such heart and soul. This version of this classic song is extremely powerful that it makes you want to hear it again. In the end, when you look back at all the great Classic Christmas music on this album it is the perfect Christmas album. What brings it all together is Billy Gilman's incredible youthful vocals. If you want classic and traditional mixed with youthful then this is definitely your Christmas album. This is one to truly enjoy. $$$$$+


Christmas To Christmas
Lee Greenwood

1985 - MCA Records. Lee Greenwood has given us a gift of music with this beautiful Christmas album. This album consists of traditional Christmas carols mixed with new soon to be favorite Christmas carols. As for traditional, Lee includes beautiful versions of "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "The Christmas Song," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and "Oh Holy Night," each performed in a Country Pop but traditional style. As for the new soon to be favorites he includes the title track, a beautiful song of love and reminisce. "When The Rain Turns To Snow," is a song that explores a city Christmas spent without your loved one. Lee includes his version of "Tennessee Christmas." It's a decent version, however, I am partial to Alabama's version. Where as "Lone Star Christmas," Lee sings about how he misses a Christmas in Texas. One of the most beautiful modern Christmas songs out there is "The Greatest Gift of All." Lee does a wonderful job on this song. However, I believe that Dolly Parton and Kenny Roger's version is the most beautiful. The last new song on this beautiful album is "Bring Christmas Home" a song about how one person can truly bring Christmas alive. In the end, this is an album that combines old traditions with new traditions. Lee truly captures the love that surrounds Christmas. Enjoy this one. $$$$$


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Lee Greenwood

2001 - FreeFalls Entertainment. This is one of the most entertaining Christmas albums out there. Lee takes it upon himself to rearrange a wide variety of classic Christmas carols to make them both up beat and entertaining. Lee takes several carols and combines them into some of the most beautiful entertaining medleys. Such as "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year" with "Winter Wonderland" and "Jingle Bells" with "Sleigh Ride." He also combines "Let It Snow," "Frosty The Snowman," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Greenwood also includes a song that I haven't heard in a long time with "We Need A Little Christmas." Many of these songs are performed in a light and airy, fast paced way. Then Lee slows it down with songs like "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Silent Night," and a new song with "He Would Be King." However, it's Lee's version of "Little Drummer Boy" that stands out the most. Lee is an accomplished musician and he proves it with his instrumental versions of "What Child Is This?" and "Away In A Manger." As good as this album is, I question the opening song "God Bless The USA." I know that this song is dear to Lee's heart and means a lot to many people. I am for one. But, this is a Christmas album and a good one at that. In listening to this album you will have a sense that you are listening to a Lee Greenwood live performance. The only thing missing is the audience. Don't miss this one, especially if you need a pick-me-up during this season. This is the album to play while you are decorating or even baking. To me it's one to play over and over again! $$$$$+++


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Lee Greenwood

2001 - Country Crossing Records. In 2001, Lee re-released this album. There a few minor changes. The difference between the two albums of the same name is that in this one a few songs are missing. Among the songs retracted from this new version of this album include "God Bless The USA," "We Need A Little Christmas," and the medley "Joy To The World" with "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Lee does include the song "Joy To The World." He also subtracted the song "Sleigh Ride." Personally, I like this new version. However, I rather enjoyed all of the medleys of the old version. Plus, I absolutely loved the song "We Need A Little Christmas." Again, Lee performs all of the songs in an up-beat manner that puts the joy of the season back into your heart. Either version, both are very entertaining! $$$$$++


The Christmas Guest
Stories and Songs of Christmas
Andy Griffith

2003 - Sparrow Records. The story behind this album is one of great interest. Andy Griffith always wanted to do an album such as this. It wasn't until he seen Marty Stuart performing on the Grand Ole Opry did he finally say - 'there's the person who can help me with my album.' However, during the process of recording, Andy fell ill and came close to dieing. In the end, Andy teamed up with Marty to produce one of the most beautiful Christmas albums around. Andy Griffith is one of the most prolific storytellers of our time and it is well portrayed in this beautiful album. In this album, Andy tells stories like "Jesus' Birth In Bethlehem" taken from the Book of Luke, "The Juggler," "Beleau Wood," and my favorite "The Christmas Guest." So many artists have recorded this story / song. However, no one does it like Andy. As far as Christmas Carols, Andy keeps to the traditional carols like "Joy To The World," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "What Child Is This," "Away In A Manger," "Golden Slumber," and "Silent Night." Andy also shares with us beautiful songs like "I Wonder As I Wander," "Jesus Walked That Lonesome Valley," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," and "Beautiful Savior." In the end what we have is a classic Christmas album performed and told by one of the most notable storytellers of our time. Andy is a devout Christen who has given us the greatest gift. The gift of his favorite songs and stories to share with generations to come. Return to a time when Christ was still a major part of Christmas. Cherish this one! $$$$$+++


Goin' Home For Christmas
Merle Haggard

1982 - Sony Music Entertainment. This is one of the most unique and beautiful Christmas albums yet. Merle Haggard entertains us while installing the Christmas spirit in our hearts. Especially with songs like "Blue Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer." However, it's the other songs that truly entertain us. He opens the album with the title track, a beautiful old time song in which Merle does a little acting in. You will certainly be transported back in time when you hear "Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card." You will certainly be entertained when you hear "Santa Claus And Popcorn." Merle slows it down with "Daddy Won't Be Home Again For Christmas." This song reminds me of all of our soldiers not able to be home for Christmas. Another slow ballad that he includes in this beautiful album, "Lonely Night." Where as "If We make It Through December," is an up beat, but solemn song. Another fun song on this unique album is "Bobby Wants A Puppy Dog For Christmas." This song talks about how a child wants a puppy, because he is a lonely child and needs a friend. Merle Haggard also includes a bonus cut with "White Christmas." Listening to this album is like taking a trip back in time. It consists of wholesome songs filled with traditions that have since disappeared. Bring back those traditions with an old fashioned Christmas, with this one. $$$$$+++


Let It Be Christmas
Alan Jackson

2002 - ARISTA Nashville. Alan Jackson does a wonderful job in performing this collection of classic Christmas carols. This collection includes "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Down," "The Christmas Song," "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells," "White Christmas," "Silver Bells," and "Away In A Manger." All of these songs are recorded in such a pristine performance that they are nearly perfect in every aspect. Alan also includes a new song which just happens to be the title track. Even though each song is perfect in every aspect, I find this album a bomb. Alan Jackson is an accomplished song writer. So, why didn't he take the time to write some new beautiful Christmas music? This album was released at a time when Alan was releasing album after album and not truly taking the time to create a masterpiece. Yes, this album features a traditional Christmas. I just wish Alan would have put a little more effort into this project. Anyone can sing a classic Christmas carol. It's the ones who add a little surprise that make the album stand out. This one just doesn't stand out from the rest. $$$-


A Farmhouse Christmas
Joey & Rory

2011 - Sugar Hill Records. When I first looked at this album I felt as if this duo had captured the true essence of a real farmhouse Christmas. But, when I took a closer look, it's quite different from that. The underlining feel is a farmhouse Christmas. However, the mainstream of the album is a modern day Christmas. The album opens with "It's Christmas Time," a song that starts out as a traditional farmhouse Christmas then it adds a touch of today's standard living. The second cut on this unquie album is perhaps one of the most beautiful ballads. "The Gift," is a traditional Christmas story song performed in a Spanish feel, which becomes a simply beautiful song of hope. The duo adds an old Merle Haggard Christmas classic with "If We Make It Through December." Their version is done quite well, but it's the vocals of Merle Haggard that add that special touch. Which brings us to the best song on the album, "Remember Me." This beautiful ballad walks us through today's traditions and why we do them. The next song is a fun Dixie style song with "I Know What Santa's Getting For Christmas." Beyond this song, the album takes a different direction. The album loses it's farmhouse feel and heads in the direction of a city style, modern day Christmas. It's the song "What The Hell (It's The Holidays)," that has a base line feel of the television show Biggest Loser. In fact the underline message in most of these songs is about gaining weight. Another song that features a modern day feel is "Let It Snow (Somewhere Else)." Where as "Another Wonderful Christmas," talks about how most Christmas's are more dysfunctional than traditional. The duo also includes their versions of "Blue Christmas," and "Away In A Manger." In the end, I would have loved to hear an album filled with new traditional style farmhouse Christmas songs than what is included. If you are looking for an album that is filled with a collection of different Christmas songs that are mixed with today's feel, then this album is for you. For the rest of us, it's an album to pass by. However, I will say that the songs "The Gift," and "Remember Me," are worth downloading. You will not regret it. Enjoy half of a farmhouse Christmas with Joey and Rory. $$$$-


Christmas Time With The Judds
The Judds

1999 - Universal Music. I have said before and I'll say it again, entertainers who have strong Christen beliefs always record the best Christmas albums. This is definitely the case with The Judds Christmas album. The Judds include some of the most beautiful versions of classic Christmas carols like "Winter Wonderland," "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," "What Child Is This," "Away In A Manger," "Oh Holy Night," and "Silent Night." I absolutely love their version of "Silver Bells." Each of these songs are performed in the traditional way with heart and soul. The ladies also include "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," a light, airy and gentle song about the Christmas star. The other new song on this incredible album is "Who Is This Babe," a gentle ballad about the Christ child. In the end, The Judds provide us with a gentle and relaxing album filled with the Christian belief about the arrival of the Christ child. Return to the real reason of this beautiful season with this one! $$$$$


A Classic Christmas

2006 - Curb Records. When Wynonna emerged on to the music scene as a solo artist, she was finally given the freedom to perform songs her way, with her beautiful vocals. Over the years, she has honed her vocals to become one of the most beautiful vocalists in Country Music. After many many years, Wynonna finally releases her first solo Christmas album. What a treat she has given us! As the title states, this is an album filled with classic Christmas carols. Carols that include "Christmas Song," "Winter Wonderland," "White Christmas," "Oh Holy Night," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and "Silent Night." Wynonna also includes "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," in which she opens with a traditional prelude that truly brings us back in time. She does the same with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." Wynonna's performance of "Emmanuel" is as if you were sitting in church listening to one of the best choirs. As for "It's The Messiah," Wynonna takes us on a powerful journey to the night the Christ child was born. However, the song that stands out the most is Wynonna's version of "Ave-Maria" that will bring you to your knees. This song truly showcases Wynonna's incredible vocal talents. Wynonna is the type of entertainer who expresses music through her heart and soul. Each song is performed with so much feeling, that it resinates through the song to bring it to life. That is something to experience live, however, this album will truly give you a glimpse. Return to a classic Christmas and be entertained by the angelic vocals of Ms. Wynonna Judd. $$$$$+++


Christmas With Karling

2011 - The thing you have to know about Karling is her style. Her style is unconventional with a taste of the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's mixed with today's flare. It's different but yet it has an acquired taste. At one point she maintains the pre-World War II era then the next point she sings with a modern touch. This Christmas album is like no other. It's fun, with a sense of tradition. Karling takes traditional songs like "Jingle Bells," "First Noel," "Deck The Halls," "Silent Night" and "Auld Lang Syne," and gives them new life with her unquie flare. For most of us who have heard these songs over and over again, her versions breathe new life into them. Then most of us, just simply like these songs in the traditional classic feel. Other songs included on this album are "What's In The Box," "Christmas Party," "Santa's Got A Crush On Me," "Angel Tears," "Tra La La La La," and "Honeys Coming Home For Christmas." The most notable song on this estranged album would have to be Karling's version of "Silent Night." One would expect Karling to throw her intriguing flare in her performance of this traditional song. However, she surprises everyone by performing this classic carol in the traditional way. At this point in Karling's music, it almost sounds like she is still searching for her niche. However, it's her muse that has given us this beautiful, unquie and some what bizarre Christmas album. If you are truly looking for that Christmas album that is out there, then this is your album. But, don't sell Karling too short. Give her a try, she might surprise even you! $$$$


Christmas To Christmas
Toby Keith

1995 - Mercury Records. Leave it up to Toby Keith to create one of the most unique Country Christmas albums available. This album opens with "Santa I'm Right Here," a beautiful ballad that speaks about today's society where families are living on the streets and how it effects their children at Christmas. The second song, "Bethlehem In Birmingham," takes the story of the birth of Christ and brings it to modern day. It's a beautiful ballad with a strong message. The album continues with "Christmas Rock," a fun song about spending to much money at Christmas. Toby Keith writes a beautiful heart felt love ballad in "Blame It On The Mistletoe." Another song that Toby wrote is a carol just for the car crazed people in "Hot Rod Sleigh." He co-wrote "Santa's Gonna Take It All Back," with Ron Reynolds. This song is a fun song about being good and bad. Another song written by Ron and Toby is "Mary, It's Christmas." This heart felt ballad speaks about how a man visit's his wife's grave and speaks to her about Christmas and their child. Toby slows it down just a little with a 50's style song in "The Night before Christmas." The title track has been recorded by several entertainers. Although, I feel that Lee Greenwood's version is the best, Toby's version measures up to Lee's. Every song on this album is truly unique in their own way. However, it's "Jesus Gets Jealous Of Santa Claus," that truly hits your heart. "All I Want For Christmas," is a beautiful love ballad. One to share with your significant other. The album closes with another strong song. "What Made The Baby Cry?" is one of those songs that truly makes us think about the events that took place on the night of the first Christmas, the night of the birth of Christ. This is one of those albums that needs to be in every Christmas album collections. It's an album full of messages, light and heart felt. Sometimes we just need to get away from the mainstream classic Christmas songs. Sometimes we just need something different. This album consists of the different while keep the true message of Christmas with in. $$$$$+


A Very Larry Christmas
Larry The Cable Guy

2004 - Warner Bros. Records Inc. Are you sick of a politically correct Christmas? Are you sick of all the same traditional Christmas carols? Are you a redneck or know a redneck? Well, this here is your Christmas album. This album is packed full of your anti-politically correct Christmas, redneck style. Learn what happened during Larry's favorite Christmas. What did Larry write in his letter to Shania Twain and more in this laugh out loud Christmas album. Larry takes us on a journey through Christmas like no other entertainer ever has. Sing Christmas Carols that Larry has changed. Learn the story of the first Christmas and the first Thanksgiving as told by Larry's grandfather. All in all this is your typical guy Christmas album. Finally, all the men your life can truly enjoy their style of Christmas! $$$$+


All Wrapped Up In Christmas
Tracy Lawrence

2007 - Rocky Comfort Records. This album is a wonderful mix of classic traditional Christmas songs with soon to be favorite new Christmas songs. Tracy Lawrence performs the classics like "Winter Wonderland," "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Here Comes Santa Claus," "White Christmas," "The Christmas Song," and "Frosty The Snowman" in the traditional way. However, it's his southern drawl that gives these new songs a new western feel. But it's the other songs that truly make this a wonderful Christmas album. Take the title track for instance, this song speaks about all the events and things that we do to make it feel like Christmas. Where as "Something In The Air," is a light hearted ballad that speaks about how the spirit of Christmas takes hold of our heart. Then there is "Cold Beer." This is a fun song for every man. This one speaks about how we need to do our on little thing to make it through Christmas. A fun one to enjoy with the man in your life. In the end this is a wonderful collection of Classics and new fun songs. One to be heard by all! $$$$$+


This Christmas Time

2000 - BMG Entertainment. This album is full of Classic Christmas carols. However, the guys perform each of them in a new and different style. Take for instance "Little Drummer Boy," is performed in a Celtic feel. Where "O Holy Night," has a touch of Country Rock. The same goes for "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and "Winter Wonderland." However, the group performs "The Christmas Song," in the traditional way. The same goes with "What Child Is This," however, they give this solemn song a new light hearted feel. But it's the non-traditional songs that give this album new life. Songs like "Reason For The Season," co-wrote by Richie McDonald, a beautiful song that reminds us of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Where as "If Every Day Could Be Christmas," is a beautiful ballad that points out the greatest events and scenes of the Christmas season. The album closes with the title track. This is a beautiful heart-felt love ballad about wanting the love of your life for Christmas. In the end, this album has many surprises. From the way each of the classics are performed to the new songs that are included. With this album, brings joy, love and a Christmas celebration. $$$$+


My Christmas List

2007 - Cracker Barrel. This is one of the first cds with new front man Cody Collins. Cody does have a great vocal range. However, I am partial to Richie McDonald. Richie performs with such heart and soul. Where as Cody kind of wines when he is trying to sing with emotion. This is a collection of your typical classic Christmas carols. Carols that include "Joy To The World," "Away In A Manger," "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells," "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," and "White Christmas." Each are performed in a country rock feel. This is especially found in "Up On The Housetop." Although, each song is performed well, the country rock feel can sometimes be over whelming. This is the case with "Deck The Halls." The guys include two new songs. The first, "That's What Christmas Is For," is a heartfelt ballad. However, these guys just don't have the feeling to bring this one to life. The second new song is the title track. Again, this group does not have the emotions to pull this beautiful song off. If you like a Christmas filled with country rock, then this is your album. As for the rest of us, well we'll just leave it in the stocking. $$$1/2


Christmas At Our House
Barbara Mandrell

1984 - MCA Records. This Christmas album is one of the most beautiful heartfelt albums out there and it comes with a story. First, Barbara Mandrell was born on Christmas day in 1948. As a child she, along with her sisters Louise and Irlene, would put on Christmas shows for their parents. But the biggest story is that on September 11, 1984, Barbara Mandrell was in a near fatal car accident. This album was recorded prior to and released after the accident. A Christmas television special to promote this album was recorded and released in 1985. But what makes this album so beautiful is not the story behind it but the music contained within it. Barbara is a devout Christian and it comes out in this album. From the opening song, "Christmas At Our House," where Barbara gains the help from her sisters Louise and Irlene, all the way through the album you gain a sense of a Christian family Christmas. Barbara's version of "Winter Wonderland," has to be the best version out there. Where as in "This Time of The Year," is a beautiful ballad that explores events of Christmas. In "Santa, Bring My Baby Home," Barbara treats us with a bluesy style fun song. "One Night A Year," is strong and powerful song about the true meaning of Christmas. Barbara includes her version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas," performed in the traditional way. One of my favorite Christmas songs is included on this beautiful album. "It Must Have Been The Mistletoe (Our First Christmas)" was the inspiration to Strictly Country's 25 Romantic Days of Christmas. "From Our House To Yours," is a song that is like a Hallmark Christmas card that is sung instead of read. Barbara includes another powerful ballad with "Born To Die." Ms. Mandrell closes this beautiful album with a medley that she calls "The Christmas Story." In this medley, Barbara tells the story of the first Christmas using songs like "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Away In A Manger," "The First Noel," "We Three Kings," "O Come All Ye Faithful," among other classic songs. This over seven minute song is so powerful that it renews your beliefs in the true reason for the season. In the end what you gain with this Christmas album is renewed divine spirit, love, family and a collection of Christmas songs worthy of listing to for years to come! $$$$$++


Good News
Kathy Mattea

1993 - PolyGram Records, Inc. This is one of the more unique Christmas albums available. On this album, Kathy Mattea truly captures the essence of the real reason we celebrate Christmas in these ten songs. Many of these songs are new songs that often resinate songs that are sung in a religious venue. She opens with "What A Wonderful Beginning," and continues with her version of "There's A New Kid In Town." Although Kathy's version is done quite well, I still believe that Trisha Yearwood takes the honors of having the best version. The next song, "Brightest And Best," is performed in an ancient feel. Kathy includes another notable song in "Mary Did You Know." I believe that Kathy should receive the honors having the best version of this beautiful ballad. Where as "The Star," is the story of Mary and Joseph on that special night. This song can almost be strewed as a song of modern days. The song "Emmanuel" truly displays Kathy's vocal abilities while sharing the story of the birth of the Christ child. One of the best songs on this album would have to be "Somebody Talkin' About Jesus." This song is performed in a manner that is known to the slaves of American history. I can not see this song performed in any other manner. By performing this song, Kathy reminds us of the strong beliefs that the slaves had. "Nothing But A Child," is another beautiful song that speaks about the shepherds and the three wisemen and what they found when they arrived in Bethlehem. "Christ Child's Lullabye" is a wonderful ballad performed in the Celtic feel. The album ends with the title track, a solemn ballad that tells us why the Christ child was born. Regain, renew your right Christmas spirit with this beautiful album filled with Christian songs. $$$$$+


White Christmas
Martina McBride

1999 - BMG Entertainment. WOW! This has to be the most perfect Christmas album that contains traditional performances of Classic Christmas carols. In fact, I have never heard a more perfect version of "O Come All Ye Faithful," as Martina performs it! The same goes for "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," and "The Christmas Song." Other songs include "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," "Away In The Manger," "What Child Is this," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and the title track. However, I would have to say that the best song on this incredible album would be Martina's version of "Silver Bells." Martina also includes a song that is rarely heard in "Do You Hear What I Hear." It's Martina McBride's angelic vocals that brings these old classic Christmas carols back to life. Listening to this album definitely puts you into the Christmas spirit! Start your Christmas out right with the most perfect, beautiful and incredible Christmas album there is! $$$$$++++


Merry Christmas From The Trailer Park
Antsy McClain & The Trailer Park Troubadours

2006 - DPR Records. This is one of the most entertaining Christmas albums. Antsy is an accomplished singer and song-writer. His songs are both entertaining and real. He has an uncanning ability to capture the essence of real life and put it towards song. Case in point, "Christmas At The Trailer Park." He also includes other real self penned songs like "The King of Christmas," "Frank The Christmas Turkey," "She's Under The Mistletoe Again," and "The Elves' Strike." But it's his song "Mary Lou's Christmas List" that truly brings it home. Another great song is "Santa Claus Finds A Way," a song that insures a child that Santa will always find a way to deliver. On the flip side, Antsy also includes several classic Christmas songs. Like "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," and "Auld Lang Syne Revisited." In the end, I find it hard to believe that radio stations don't play Anty's music. It's real as real can get. His vocals are pure, real and he's 100% entertaining. Return to a normal and real family Christmas with this one! $$$$$+


If Every Day Could Be Christmas
Richie McDonald

2007 - LoReMoMa Music. Richie McDonald is an accomplished singer and songwriter. His music is emotional and real. This is the case with this beautiful album. The album opens with "If Everyday Could Be Christmas," a beautiful ballad that points out the events that make Christmas so special. We then come upon "Why Santa's Fat," a wonderful children's song. Richie includes several versions of classic Christmas carols like "The Christmas Song," "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year," "Mary Did You Know," and "White Christmas." I'm not fond of Richie's versions. But you may find them refreshing, especially if you are sick of the same old versions. Christmas is even more special in certain places, this is the case with "Christmas In New York." It wouldn't be a Richie McDonald Christmas album without a few songs that he co-wrote. The first, "Coming Home For Christmas," is a beautiful ballad about trying to make it home for Christmas. The second is "Christmas Lights." In this beautiful ballad, Richie points out the roll that Christmas lights play, even during the first Christmas. Another song that Richie co-wrote that is included on this album is "Miracles Happen." This song tells us to keep having hope for those miracles, dreams and wishes to come true. However, the best song on this album has to be "Blessed Are The Hands That Give." This powerful song reminds us that giving is more important than receiving. This song should be the anthem song to The Marine Corps. Toys For Tots program. This album is totally worth it just to hear this song. In the end, what you get from this album is hope, love, laughter and most of all family and the Christmas Spirit! $$$$$++


Merry Christmas To You
Reba McEntire

1987 - MCA Records. In the infancy of her career, Reba released this traditional Christmas album. What makes this album so special is the mix between Reba's southern drawl and the light instrumentals. The instrumentals are light and tend to play in the background to Reba's unique southern vocals. Reba includes the classics like "Away In A Manger," "O Holy Night," "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and "The Christmas Song." Reba opens the song, "Silent Night," with the story about how the song came to be. It was this album that first introduced me to the song "The Christmas Guest." Where as in "On This Day," explores the events of Christmas day and why we celebrate it. Reba shares a touch of her own Christmas in "Happy Birthday Jesus (I'll Open This One For You)," the song tells the story of why we open gifts on Christmas day. Where as "A Christmas Letter," is a beautiful ballad that asks the question what Santa Claus wants for Christmas. In the end, what you get is a soft, gentle album filled with beautiful music performed in a traditional country music way. Simply beautiful. $$$$$


Secret of Giving
A Christmas Collection
Reba McEntire

1999 - MCA Records. In the height of her career, Reba gives us another Christmas album filled with incredible music. The album opens with "This Is My Prayer For You," a beautiful up beat ballad that gives the greatest gift. The second song is a classic song that is often forgotten about, "I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus." Reba gives this classic song new life in her version. Reba performs the next beautiful ballad about the Christ child, in "One Child, One Day." She also includes her version of "Mary, Did You Know," performed in a soft lullaby. She picks up the tempo in "Up On The Housetop." There are so many powerful songs on this album. However, "The Angels Sang," has to be the most powerful one. It's a song that you have to listen to in order to get it's message. Another powerful song can be found in "Santa Claus Is Coming Back To Town." This song tells the story of a divorced couple and what they do to insure that their children have a wonderful Christmas. Where as the title track has to be the best song on this extraordinary album. This song, was made into a made for television movie. It's a beautiful up beat ballad with a strong message. Simply beautiful. The next song, "This Christmas," tells us to keep the faith, the love and the strength that was shown in the first Christmas. The album ends with another beautiful ballad in "'Til The Season Comes 'Round Again." This is a wonderful song to end this incredible album. Reba's version of this wonderful song is good. However, I believe that Kenny Rogers' version is about the best. But, Reba's is right up there. This album is a must have in any Christmas collection. There are so many songs on here that get you thinking about the true reason and the events that surround Christmas. Like fine wine, Reba has aged to perfection with her second Christmas album. Enjoy! $$$$$+


Merry Christmas From London
Lorrie Morgan featuring The New World Philharmonic

1993 - BMG Music. Lorrie Morgan is another entertainer with an incredible set of vocals. Her vocals are both beautiful and entertaining. When Lorrie released this album, I was looking forward to listening to it. This album is beautiful, however, it has no flow to it. It features a collection of beautiful songs, some classic others new. The flow almost feels like it's choppy. The album begins with Rodger's and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things," in which Lorrie performs this close to perfection. The album continues with a wonderful medley of classic Christmas songs called "A Christmas Festival" which includes "Jingle Bells," "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen," "Deck The Halls," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Hark? The Herald Angels Sing," "Joy To The World," "The First Noel," and a duet with Tammy Wynette in "Silent Night." From there the album continues with a beautiful song of old with "Little Snow Girl," which is a duet with Andy Williams. The fun begins with "Up On Santa Claus Mountain," this is a light and airy song that children will enjoy. It's nice to hear this old song, especially since it was written by Lorrie's father George Morgan. I can honestly say that this song is one of the best on this unique album. Lorrie returns to the traditional songs in "O Holy Night." As beautiful as Lorrie sings it, it's the background singers that over power Lorrie's vocals. Where as "Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," is a performed in the light, airy, and traditional feel. Lorrie gains help from Johnny Mathis in a heartfelt ballad called "Blue Snowfall." The eighth cut on this album is "Toyland," in which Lorrie performs this to near perfection. Simply beautiful. The same goes for "Sleigh Ride." Lorrie closes the album with her version of "Ave Maria." Although Lorrie's version is beautiful, it just does not match to that of Wynonna Judd's. In the end, this album has a sense and feel of a Victorian Christmas. The only thing missing is the Christmas goose and plum pudding. $$$$


Christmas With Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson

1994 - Regency Music. Sometimes the most beautiful albums are the simplest albums. This is the case with Willie's. Willie performs such classics as "Away In A Manger," "Deck The Halls," "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Joy To The World," "The First Noel," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," and "Silent Night" in a simple Texas style. Willie uses the piano as the main instrument with the accompaniment of his trusty guitar with a slight string background in each song. Thus, making each song sound classic and real. However, the song that stands out the most is Willie's signature Christmas song with "Pretty Paper." It's Willie's vocals that resinate through this song mixed with his guitar that brings this song to life. It's a real, Texas, Country Christmas with Willie. Enjoy! $$$$$


Hill Country Christmas
Willie Nelson with Bobbie Nelson

1997 - Finer Arts Records. Willie teams up with his sister Bobbie Nelson to give us another great Christmas album. Each song is performed in a simplistic way with only a piano and guitar accompaniment. Songs include "Away In A Manger," "Joy To The World," "O' Little Town of Bethlehem," "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," "Silent Night," "Deck The Halls," and "White Christmas." What makes this album so special is the fact that Willie has recorded each song with his sister. But, there is also another treasure to this album. Willie gets the vocal help from Gene Autry in Gene's song "Here Comes Santa Claus." This album was released nearly a year prior to Gene's death. Willie also includes his signature Christmas song "Pretty Paper." But the newest song on this album is "El Nino." A beautiful Mexican song. Again, Willie and Bobbie provide us with a classic and simplistic Christmas album. $$$$$


Christmas Wish
Olivia Newton-John

2007 - ONJ Productions. The first time I heard this album, I was stunned at it's simple beauty. Whoever arranged this album did an incredible job. This album features Olivia performing some beautiful classic songs like "O Come All Ye Faithful," "We Three Kings," and "Silent Night," in her angelic vocals. What is so unique about this album is that in between each song there is an instrumental interlude of classic Christmas carols like "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Away In A Manger," "The First Noel," "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," "What Child Is This?," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Little Drummer Boy," "O Christmas Tree," "Deck The Halls," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Sometimes certain songs, like classic Christmas songs, sound better when they are performed as instrumentals. Olivia gives each of these songs a new life as instrumentals. However, it's the 'other' songs that give this album it's beauty. Songs like "Every Time It Snows," a beautiful love ballad. Then there's "A Mother's Christmas Wish," a song by a mother to her children. Where as "Angels In The Snow," is a wonderful song that gives new meaning to making snow angels. "All Through The Night," is a song about the events of Christmas night. The message of peace is well portrayed in a beautiful up beat ballad called "Underneath The Same Sky." Where in "Little Star of Bethlehem," is a song dedicated the Christmas star. Again, the message of Peace through out the world resinates in "Instrument of Peace." Throughout the entire album, Olivia shares her angelic vocals in a soft, gentle, peaceful way. Then she surprises us with a wonderful 50's style Christmas song in "Christmas On My Radio." She closes the album with "A Gift of Love," another heartfelt ballad of Christmas love. This entire album is truly remarkable with it's beautiful music mixed in with Olivia's angelic vocals. It's a masterpiece of Classic Christmas carols mixed in with new songs. Words can not describe the musical beauty that resinates from this album. One must experience it to appreciate it. $$$$$++


The Christmas Album
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

1997 - Universal Records. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has entertained us for years with their down home country music. Now, they entertain us with their version of Christmas. The group sticks to their style of music while performing traditional Christmas songs like "We Three Kings," "Silent Night," "Silver Bells," "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear," and "Little Drummer Boy." They also include an instrumental version of "Jingle Bells." Their version is rather good to the point that I believe it's the best version out there. The boys also include several new songs including "Colorado Christmas." A song that compares a California Christmas with that of Colorado Christmas. The fun is found in a wonderful song called "Christmas Dinner." This song explores the joys and events surrounding a Christmas dinner. Where as in "One Christmas Tree," speaks of how divorced parents try to come together to give their children a wonderful Christmas. Return to the Victorian days in "This Christmas Morning." This song truly captures the vast talents of this group. "Love Has Brought Him Here," is a wonderful ballad that explores the story of the birth of the Christ child. With this album you get a collection of old and new Christmas carols performed with heart, soul and the down home Christmas feeling of old. Renew your Christmas and remember the days of old for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has captured it just for you in this wonderful Christmas album. $$$$$+


A Traditional Christmas
Joe Nichols

2004 - Universal South Records. Joe Nichols has a set of vocals that are very unique. This is a Traditional Christmas album. I must say that this is the most boring Christmas album. Joe performs each of these songs with no emotion. His vocal range is limited to the point that in majority of these classic Christmas songs he is unable to hit the high note or the low note. Case in point the high note in "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." Other songs include "Away In A Manger," "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Silent Night," "White Christmas," "Silver Bells," "O Holy Night," and "The Christmas Song." Each song is performed in the same key with the same mono tone vocals. If your Christmas is about being boring, then this album is for you. As for the rest of us - we'll give it back to Santa! $$$-


Brad Paisley Christmas
Brad Paisley

2006 - ARISTA Nashville. The greatest thing that you need to know about Brad Paisley, is that he is the epitome of Country Music. Listening to this album is like sitting in a seat at the Grand Ole Opry. This is a real Country Christmas. Especially with songs like "Winter Wonderland," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Away In A Manger," "Silent Night," and "Silver Bells." Each of these songs are performed in the traditional way with a kick of Country. In other words, Brad includes various instrumentals that truly brings the country feel out in every song. It amazes me the picking talent that is included on this pure country Christmas album. A perfect example of this is Brad's instrumental version of "Jingle Bells." Brad also includes a song written by Buck Owens and Don Rich with "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy." Where as "364 Days To Go," is a beautiful ballad co-wrote by Paisley. The song that stands out the most would have to be "Born On Christmas Day." Written by Paisley, Brad includes his first live performance of this song in which he was only 15. The first version is then mixed with a modern version. The mix is completely ingenious! However, my favorite part of this incredible album, beside the vast picking, would be the end. No, it's not what you think. The last cut on this album is called "Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday." It's a wonderful song / skit in which Brad gains help from George Jones, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Bill Anderson to bring us a ball of laughs! I just wish that Brad would still include these little skits! In the end what you get with this album is a 100% Country Music Christmas. Just make sure that you take time to really listen to the instrumentals. Enjoy! $$$$$++


Home For Christmas
Dolly Parton

1990 - CBS Records. There is something about Dolly Parton and her music that makes you feel good about yourself. This is the case with this incredible Christmas album. Dolly begins this album with a short monolog about celebrating Christmas in her home Church. From there she shares with the listener the congregation of her Church singing "First Noel." Gently it transforms into Dolly singing the "First Noel." The album consists of all the great classics such as "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "The Little Drummer Boy," and an incredible version of "We Three Kings." She also includes one of the best versions of "Go Tell It On The Mountain." Dolly gains the help from some children in performing "Jingle Bells." Dolly closes the album with a beautiful version of "Joy To The World," followed by another monolog about Christmas in her home town. As the album closes it almost feels as if Dolly was reminiscing about past Christmases in her home town. Dolly performs each of the songs on this beautiful album with respect, love, hope and raw feelings. If you are truly looking for a Christmas album filled with classic carols this one rates right up there. Reminisce with Dolly Parton. $$$$$+


Once Upon A Christmas
Kenny & Dolly

1997 - BMG Entertainment. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers team up to bring us one of the most entertaining Christmas albums. This album opens with a Dolly Parton original in "I Believe In Santa Claus." This is a great song for the entire family to sing. Dolly includes another self-penned song in "With Bells On," a beautiful carol about coming home for Christmas. The album consists of another song co-wrote by Dolly in "Christmas Without You." This is a beautiful up beat ballad about celebrating Christmas without the love of your life. Another Dolly Parton original on this album is "A Christmas To Remember." This carol is a beautiful song about how people make our Christmases special. The album consists of a beautiful medley of "Winter Wonderland" and "Sleigh Ride." It's Dolly's angelic vocals that makes this medley the best versions yet. Dolly performs "White Christmas," in a soft subtle way. The song that I believe should not have been included is "Hard Candy Christmas." This song was performed by Dolly and other actors in the movie "Best Little Whorehouse In Texas." Therefore, hearing this song brings memories of that movie and doesn't pertain to Christmas. Where as "The Greatest Gift of All," is a beautiful ballad of sharing Christmas with your loved one. Kenny and Dolly perform this wonderful heartfelt ballad with pure emotion that resinates through the speakers and into the listener's heart. This beautiful album closes with a strong and powerful song, "Once Upon A Christmas," written by Dolly Parton. This song tells the story of the first Christmas, the story of the birth of the Christ child. In the end, what you get from this incredible album is a collection of new Christmas carols that promote love, fun, family, Christian beliefs and pure enjoyment of the Christmas season. This is one album that you will listen to year after year with no reservations. 100% pure enjoyment! $$$$$++


Home For The Holidays
Point of Grace

2010 - Word Entertainment. This album consists of a collection of beautifully performed Christmas carols. The group includes several new versions of old classics like "White Christmas," "Little Drummer Boy," "A Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Joy To The World. They also include a medley of "Home For The Holidays" and "Silver Bells." I find this medley interesting. They perform "Home For The Holidays" as a slow ballad, which to me does not sound that good. This song is supposed to be performed in a light hearted feel. The ladies also include several new songs including "Labor of Love," a heartfelt ballad that explores what the virgin Mary went through while giving birth to the Christ child. Where as "Not So Silent Night," is another heartfelt ballad about God's gift to us. The album closes with another beautiful ballad. The band gains the help from Jim Brinkman in "The Giver And The Gift." However, the song that stands out the most would have to be "Candy Cane Lane." This is a wonderful, light hearted song that is performed in the 1940's style, with perfect tight harmonies. I could listen to this one over and over again! Take the journey through Christmas emotions from fun to heartfelt and love with this beautiful album. $$$$$


Cowboy Christmas Tree
Bryan Ragsdale

2010 - Bryan Ragsdale. If I were to choose an entertainer to carry on the music of John Denver, I would choose Bryan Ragsdale. Bryan maintains the essence that John once carried within his music. As good as Bryan is, this is not the album to begin with. Some of the songs on this solemn album are quite good, but the others are just fillers. The album opens with the title track, a gentle song that shares with us the gentleness of a cowboy Christmas. Where as "Christmas Kiss," is a fun song about that first kiss. "We Laugh, We Love, We Celebrate," is another fun song about celebrating Christmas. In "Simple Act of Kindness," shows us how the greatest gift is like the title states. Bryan explores what if Santa was a cowboy in his fun song called "What If Santa Was A Cowboy." What would the greatest gift be to you? Bryan explores that question in "The Greatest Gift." Do you remember the things that you made as a child? Take a trip down memory lane with "Made By Me." "Wyoming Cowboy Christmas," brings us on a journey how Christmas is celebrated in Wyoming. Where as in "My Mommy, My Daddy, and Me," is a fun song that explores a child's Christmas with his parents. There are several other songs included, however, they seem like fillers. Again, Bryan is a wonderful singer and song writer. However, this album really does not truly showcase his vast talents. I find this album quite boring. However, if you take each song out of the album and put it with other songs, I can see pure enjoyment. But, when you listen to it in it's entirety - it seems like one long song. $$$ - $$$1/2


A Family Christmas
Collin Raye

2008 - StarPointe Records. This is a nice collection of classic Christmas carols performed by Collin Raye. This album is a live album, however, it only contains bits and pieces of the live performance. Collin includes "The Christmas Song," "Angels We Have Heard On High," "Winter Wonderland," "Away In A Manger," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "Silent Night," and "O Holy Night." He also includes a new song called "It Could Happen Again," in which Collin tells the story about during World War I, how on soldiers made peace from both sides on Christmas Eve. Collin also dedicates "I'll Be Home For Christmas," to our soldiers. What Collin does not know, is that there is a Christmas song that was especially written for the soldiers when Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas." Berlin wrote the song while visiting soldiers in World War II. In the end what you get with this album is a collection and pieces of a live performance of classic Christmas songs. Personally, I believe that it's nice to hear live performances. However, this one has the listener asking 'why didn't you include the entire performance?' It's a toss up - the songs are performed beautifully. But it's the bits that just don't measure up. $$$-$$$$


What A Wonderful World
LeAnn Rimes

2004 - Curb Records. This is not your usual Christmas album. This one is quite different with the songs that are contained within. It's a collection of beautifully performed songs, especially with LeAnn's angelic vocals. LeAnn keeps with the traditional Christmas songs like "White Christmas," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "The Christmas Song," "O Holy Night," and an incredible version of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree." LeAnn also includes "A Different Kind Of Christmas," a beautiful ballad that speaks about changes at Christmas time. There are so many Christmas carols to choose from and LeAnn includes a song that is hardly performed in "All I Want For Christmas." She also includes a bluesy Jazz love song with "Just Love Me." Rimes sings about lost love in the beautiful ballad, "Miss You Like Christmas." However, the song that stands out the most is the title track. Although Louis Armstrong made this song popular, LeAnn's version is performed with just as much emotion as Louis did. This album was released at a time in LeAnn's life when she was making the transition from teenager to adult. This album contains a part of her childhood and gives us a taste of her as an adult. It's beautiful, relaxing and pure enjoyment. $$$$$


Hallmark Entertainment Presents
Kenny Rogers in
Christmas From The Heart
Kenny Rogers

1998 - Dreamcatcher Records. In 1998, Kenny Rogers teamed up with Hallmark Entertainment to perform a show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The show included a one-act play, co-wrote by Kenny, called The Toy Shoppe. The play told a magical story about how toys are a lot like people. This album is a collection of songs performed during that 1998 performance at the Beacon. Kenny included several classic songs like "The Christmas Song," "My Favorite Things," "White Christmas," "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "O' Come All Ye Faithful," and the best version of "'Til The Season Comes 'Round Again." Other songs include "It's Just Not Christmas," a beautiful song about love. There are several children songs including "Hey, Little Christmas Tree," a fun song sung by a child who asks the Christmas tree about his Christmas gifts. Children will love "I Wanna Be A Christmas Present," a song that has toys singing about being a Christmas present. On the flip side, what would a popular children's toy would sing about when they weren't popular anymore? The answer is found in "The Ballerina Song." "Help Somebody Find Their Way," is another great children's song, one that all children will sing over and over. The beat starts rocking with "Mister Perfect." But it all comes together in "The Toy Shoppe." Where in "Money Isn't What Really Matters," Kenny sings about how the cost of a gift doesn't matter compared to the thought of the gift. Kenny also includes a beautiful song called "Heroes," the title says it all. However, the best song on this wonderful album is "Merry Christmas." This short song is simple but beautiful. This is one album that everyone will enjoy. From children's songs to the classics and new songs, the entire family will enjoy this one! $$$$$++


Christmas Is Always
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

2001 - EMI - Capitol Music Special Markets. Capitol Music went back to bring this old album back to life by re-mastering it. In this beautiful album, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans brings us back to a time when Christmas actually meant something other than giving and receiving. When Christmas was backed by a huge Christian following. When Christmas meant getting together with family, friends and helping neighbors and strangers. The album opens with a fun version of "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year." The album continues with a wonderful Christian medley that includes "Remember Whose Birthday It Is," and "Happy Birthday Gentle Saviour." Dale sings "Christmas Is Always," a song that reminds us why we celebrate Christmas. Roy performs an incredible version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Dale and Roy include a wonderful duet in "Star of Hope." Where as in "A Christmas Prayer," the two sing about the benefits of the events of Christmas. Roy sings a song of love with "Merry Christmas, My Darling." Where as Dale sings about the events that truly remind us that it's December in "December Time." One of the most beautiful Christian songs out there is "Let There Be Peace On Earth." Roy and Dale include this beautiful ballad. The two include another beautiful medley with "What Child Is This," and "Sweet Little Jesus Boy." Dale truly showcases her vocal talents and ability to perform with raw emotion in "What Color Is Love?" The album closes with another beautiful and unique medley with "Jingle Bells," and "Sleigh Ride." What makes this album so beautiful is Roy's deep vocals and how they are perfectly matched with Dale's light vocals. This album truly brings us back to a time of innocence, love and strong Christian beliefs. Return and renew yourself with this one! $$$$$


Shenandoah Christmas
Featuring Marty Raybon

1996 - Capitol Nashville. Shenandoah was known for their tight harmonies. This album is total proof of that. The group stays with the traditional Christmas carols including "White Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "The Christmas Song," "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." The group also includes a new song called "There's A Way In The Manger." This song explores the story of the birth and life of the Christ child. In the end, you get a classic Christmas album performed in a slow melody with lack of feelings. Shenandoah does have tight harmonies, but they don't have the heart and soul to pull this one off. Classics is all you get with this one. $$$1/2


A Skaggs Family Christmas
Volume One
Ricky Skaggs

2005 - Skaggs Family Records. What do you get when you mix Christmas with a devout Christian family who is extremely talented in music? You get the Skaggs Family Christmas! The Skaggs brings to us traditional Christmas carols such as "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Little Drummer Boy," "What Child Is This," "Mary, Did You Know?," "Deck The Halls," "The Christmas Guest," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "White Christmas," and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Each of these classics are performed in a light Bluegrass feel while maintaining the traditional base of which they were written. The family also includes several newer songs. The first, "Love Come Gently," is a beautiful ballad performed with heart, soul and grace. The Skaggs family also includes "Hangin' 'Round The Mistletoe," a fun song of love. Where as the group performs an old Charlie Brown classic, "Christmas Time Is Here," in a light and gentle feel. The last newer song is "Go Thee Down," a song that explores the events of the shepherds on the night the Christ child was born. This group consists of three generations of performers who know how to perform a song. Each song is performed with raw emotions mixed with angelic vocals and the perfect selection of musical instruments. Enjoy the traditional songs, while enjoying the beauty of the instrumentals that bring each of these songs to life. Truly beautiful in every way! $$$$$+


A Skaggs Family Christmas
Volume Two

2011 - Skaggs Family Records. Christmas is a time for family. The Skaggs family comes together to share with us family, fun and music in the name of Christmas. This album contains both an album and a DVD. First the album features ten of the songs that are performed within the live performance that is featured on the DVD. The album contains songs like "Christmas Time's A Coming," "Silent Night," "The First Noel," "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel," and "Joy To The World." The family sticks to the classics with respect for their messages and meanings. However, it's songs like "Light of The Stable," "Flight To Egypt," and "What Songs Were Sung," that give this album more life. As the album is extraordinary, the DVD is even more promising. Recorded during a live performance at the Ryman Auditorium, the DVD truly features the comradery and raw talent that this family is known for. But even more, it shows a family who maintains a strong belief in the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. The DVD gives us the sense of what we truly need to focus on at Christmas time. Words can not describe the feelings that come over you when you take the time to sit down and enjoy the vast talents that are contained within this beautiful DVD. The Skaggs family sticks to the traditional Christian Christmas songs, while it shows that they are truly a family that has come together in the name of music. This beautiful album / DVD should be a requirement in every household. Gather up the family and take the time to share with them what Christmas is truly about. $$$$$+


Merry Christmas Wherever You Are
George Strait

1999 - MCA Records Nashville. George Strait provides us with a beautiful and unique collection of Christmas music on this album. This album contains a few of the classics like "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Jingle Bell Rock," "The Christmas Song," and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer." He also includes another great, but often forgotten song in "All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth.)" George keeps with the traditional feeling in his performances. He also includes a beautiful love ballad with "I Know What I Want For Christmas." The title track is another beautiful heartfelt ballad. Where as "Santa's On His Way," is a fun song that will bring the child out in any adult. The two songs that stand out the most are "Old Time Christmas" and "Noel Leon." "Old Time Christmas," is a song that reminisces about our childhood Christmases. Where "Noel Leon," tells a story of a man who keeps his Christmas lights up all year round and how this event has become a staple in the community. In the end what you get with this album is a soft, gentle album filled with classics mixed with newer songs. It's George's gentle vocals that brings this album to life. It's an album that is worth listening to over and over, year after year. $$$$$++


Fresh Cut Christmas
George Strait

2006 - Hallmark Inc. Hallmark Gold Crown stores proudly presents George Strait in this beautiful classic Christmas album. This album features George performing classics like "Joy To The World," "We Three Kings," "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells," "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Up On The Housetop," "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," "O Christmas Tree," "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," and "Deck The Halls." It's George's unique Texan style vocals that brings a sense of an old style, down home Christmas. George performs each of these with a light heart and true meaning mixed with just the right instrumental accompaniment. If you are looking for a Christmas album that keeps with the traditional songs that is light hearted, then this one is just for you! Keep with the tradition with this one! $$$$$+


Sounds Of The Season
The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection
Taylor Swift

2007 - NBC, Big Machine Records. This EP features six songs that are a mix of old classics and new Taylor Swift penned songs. The classics include "Last Christmas," "Santa Baby," "White Christmas" and "Silent Night." In Silent Night," Taylor includes her own arrangement. Part of me acknowledges this as a fairly decent arrangement. Then the other half says that she butchered a very holy song. In the end, I would have to agree with the part that says that she butchered this beautiful song. Taylor includes a song that she co-wrote, "Christmases When You Were Mine," is a ballad full of heartache. It's not something that one would want to hear, especially at Christmas. She also includes a song that she wrote "Christmas Must Be Something More." This song has a decent message, but it sounds exactly like all of her other songs. To me this is only for the Taylor Swift fans. As for the rest of us, It would make a perfect gift for all those we really don't care for! $$$


Just In Time For Christmas
Pam Tillis

2005 - Stellar Cat Records. The greatest thing about this incredibly beautiful album is that Pam Tillis is an old soul who respects the traditions of Christmas. She includes several classic Christmas songs on this album with "Have Yourself A Merry Lil' Christmas," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and a wonderful version of Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper." It's the other songs that truly bring this album to life. Songs like "Beautiful Night," a gentle song that explores every thing that makes a beautiful Christmas night. "Light Of The World," is a wonderful song that tells the story of how the Christ child became our light in a dark world. Pam brings a little dance number in "Christmas Waltz." She also includes the song "New Year's Eve." Although Pam's version is nicely done, I still believe that Lee Ann Womack's version is better. Pam teams up with her father Mel Tillis in "The Rockin' Christmas Medley." This is a wonderful version of these fun songs. Perfectly presented. Another medley that Pam performs on this album is "Silent Night Medley." Pam has an uncanning ability to put together the right songs to create a masterpiece medley. Last but not least is "Seasons," a beautiful ballad that explains the importance of the different seasons and how they effect us. Pam, with her angelic vocals, provides us with a gentle and relaxing Christmas album. The combination of old and new Christmas songs gives us a refreshing taste to Christmas. $$$$$++


Have Yourself A Tractor's Christmas
The Tractors

1995 - ARISTA Records, Inc. When the Tractors arrived in Nashville, Nashville was not ready for them and their unique sound. Their sound consists of a mix of New Orleans jazz and Louisiana flare. It's unique and refreshing. Personally, I miss the Tractors. In 1995, The Tractors released their only Christmas album. On this album the group takes classic Christmas songs and performs them with their unique style. Classics include "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," "Christmas Is Comin'," "White Christmas," and their version of a Buck Owens song "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy." Each of these songs is performed in an upbeat, fun style with respect for the song. They also include a wonderful Bob Wills style song in "Swingin' Home For Christmas." Other songs include "Jingle My Bells," "The Shelter," "Rockin' This Christmas," "Baby Wanna Be By You," "The Santa Claus Boogie," and "Silent Night, Christmas Blue." However, the song that stands out the most is "Santa Claus Is Comin' (In A Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train)." This album is one of those incredible albums that will certainly get you into the Christmas Party mood. This one is perfect for any Christmas party or just to have fun this Christmas. $$$$$+


Songs of The Season
Randy Travis

2007 - Word Entertainment. A lot of people are going to be mad, but I'm going to risk it because it is my job to tell the honest truth. Some entertainers shouldn't sing certain songs. Randy Travis is one. His vocal range is so limited that during half of the songs on this album he misses so many of the notes. Therefore, he is truly butchering each of these beautiful classics songs. The instrumentals are perfect, however, when you listen closely to Randy's vocals, he is missing so many notes, plus he goes low when he should hit a high note and vice versa. The songs that he inlcudes on this album are "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "Angels We Have Heard On High," "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Away In A Manger," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," "The First Noel," and "Joy To The World." He also includes several new songs like "Our King," "Nothin's Gonna Bring Me Down (At Christmas Time)," and "Labor of Love." I have heard some horrible Christmas albums, where entertainers totally destroy beautiful classic songs and I have heard some beautiful Christmas albums where the entertainer truly captures the essence of Christmas. This album is neither. It's near the middle. I will say when you listen to this one with studio quality headphones you can hear all of Randy's mistakes. As the listener you can hear his extremely limited vocal range. The best thing about this album is the music and the background singers. Give this one to the fans. $$$-


Phil Vassar

2011 - RodeoWave. Phil Vassar is an accomplished pianist. However, his vocal talents are not worth writing home about. Throughout this entire album, his vocals are off key. He includes several classic Christmas songs with "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "What Child Is This," and a medley of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and "Angels We Have Heard On High." He also does a rendition of "Away In A Manger" in which he gains help from Kelly Collins, who is a beautiful singer. Phil is also a song writer. However, there is some questions about his writing. He does include several songs that he co-wrote like "Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Without You," "Santa's Gone Hollywood," "Let's Make A Little Christmas Tonight," and "Big Ol' Texas Christmas," a song in which Ray Benson of Asleep at The Wheel lends his vocal talents to. Phil includes a song that he wrote called "I Saved Christmas." I can honestly tell you that Phil did not save Christmas with this album. There is so much wrong with this album. From lack of vocal ability to being off key. This album is just not there. I just wish that Phil would stop performing and just stick to what he is good at - playing the piano. I believe that if Phil were to combine his talents with a group, he may go farther than he is today. This one is just not there to pay all the money for. $$


Beautiful Star: The Christmas Collection
Rhonda Vincent

2006 - Rounder Records. Rhonda Vincent is another one of those unappreciated entertainers. Her talents consists of angelic vocals mixed with incredible picking that will make any album she releases sound wonderful. This is the case with this album. This album consists of a beautiful collection of classic Christmas songs. Songs that include "The Christmas Song," "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," "Let It Snow," "Silent Night," "Winter Wonderland," and "Away In A Manger." Rhonda gains help from several children in a fun version of "Jingle Bells." She also includes a carol that is often forgotten with "Christmas Time's A Comin'." The raw picking talent of Vincent and her band certainly comes out in "Oh Christmas Tree." Speaking of bands, Rhonda gains help from every member of her band and even her bus driver in a fun version of "Twelve Days of Christmas." But the song that stands out the most would have to be "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem." Another notable song is "Christmas Time At Home," a song that reminisces of a down home Christmas. Rhonda and friends perform each of these songs with heart and soul while maintaining the essence of an old fashioned Christmas. Sometimes you have to veer off the mainstream to find the most beautiful music. Return to the olden days when families would gather with their instruments and pick the night away. You will find those olden days with this beautiful Christmas album. $$$$$++


Clay Walker

2002 - Warner Bros. Records. WOW! What an incredible album! Clay Walker totally surprised me with this one. This album is filled with classic Christmas carols. Carols that include "Mary Did You Know," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Winter Wonderland," "Frosty The Snowman," "White Christmas" and "Feliz Navidad." Clay opens the album with a wonderful medley using "Silent Night," and "Away In A Manger." But the song that stands out the most is his version of "Please Come Home For Christmas." This song truly captures Clay's vocal ability. Sure all of these songs have been performed over and over again by various artists. However, no one has performed them quite like this. Each song on this album is performed as if this is a big production performance. Clay gains the help from children as well as an incredible group of background singers. Most of the songs begin as if they were performed in the old fashioned way with the use of the background singers singing the prelude to each song. Really the only thing missing from this album is the audience interaction. This album is purely beautiful. Clay Walker captures the essence of Christmas while performing each song in an old fashioned way. It's as if he were on the set of Bing Crosby's White Christmas. I highly recommend this Christmas album to anyone and everyone. Especially to those who cherish the old fashioned Christmases of yesterday. $$$$$++


Guitar Christmas
Steve Wariner

2003 - SelecTone Records. Sometimes Christmas music can be so overwhelming. This is not the case with this beautiful Christmas album. Steve Wariner, one of the greatest guitar pickers in Country Music, gives us this beautiful acoustic Christmas album. With only a guitar in hand, Steve performs a wide variety of classic Christmas songs. Songs that include "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "White Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "Silent Night," "Deck The Halls," "The Christmas Song," "Winter Wonderland," and "Jingle Bells." I absolutely love how he performed "I Saw Three Ships," with the traditional Celtic feel. He also does two medleys. The first consists of "Away In A Manger," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The second medley consists of "The First Noel," and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." This album is a guitar pickers dream. All guitar pickers dream of playing like Steve Wariner. This album is simple but is packed full of pure genius beauty! Make your Christmas as simple as possible with this simple album. $$$$$+++


My Christmas Project
Bryan White

2006 - Covenant Productions, LLC. Bryan White gives us a glimpse of his Christmas with this wonderful EP. This EP features five fun songs. It opens with Bryan's version of "White Christmas," performed in a light rock to Pop mix. Where as in "The First Noel" Bryan gets help from his brother Daniel White. The two stick with the traditional performance that is accompanied by a guitar, piano and other light instruments. It's simple but beautiful. Bryan performs "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," as light rock instrumental. But it's a live version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," that will truly entertain you. The album closes with a beautiful song with a recitation in "The Heart of Christmas" written by Bryan. If you listen to the entire album, you will be entertained with a special gift. If this is just a taste of what Bryan can give us for Christmas music, I wonder what an entire album would sound like? Share this simple, but powerful EP with those who you love this Christmas. $$$$$


The Season For Romance
Lee Ann Womack

2002 - MCA Nashville. Christmas is the time for love and romance. For some reason we tend to gravitate towards the ones we love more during Christmas than any other time of the year. Lee Ann has given us a beautiful album filled with Christmas romance. Among the romance songs you will find classic Christmas carols to enjoy like "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Silent Night," "White Christmas," and "The Christmas Song." But it's songs like the title track that bring the essence of romance to this album. Another song is "Baby It's Cold Outside" in which Harry Connick Jr. lends his vocal talents to. "Forever Christmas Eve," is a beautiful jazz style ballad that explores the feelings of what Christmas Eve brings. The fun begins with "The Man With The Bag," performed in the 1940's style. The album ends with "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" another love ballad. Lee Ann does a wonderful job on this album by capturing the essence of love within each song. She performs the classics with respect and honor while keeping their traditions. The love ballads are performed with such raw emotions that you can not help but feel the love. This album is for the romantics and those who long for romance at Christmas time. In the end, you will certainly enjoy this beautiful album year after year! $$$$$+++


The Sweetest Gift
Trisha Yearwood

1994 - MCA Records. Trisha, with her angelic vocals, gives us a wonderful album filled with the Christmas spirit of love. The album opens with "Sweet Little Jesus Boy," a beautiful ballad about the Christ child. Where as in "It Wasn't His Child," explores the thoughts of the Christ child's earthly father Joseph. But it's Trisha's version of "New Kid In Town" that tops all versions. Trisha lightens the mood with "Reindeer Boogie," a song that will get anyone going. Where as she also includes several classic Christmas carols with "Santa Claus Is Back In Town," "Away In A Manger," "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," and "The Christmas Song." She also includes the title track, a song that really doesn't seem like a song for a Christmas album. The song that stands out the most is "Take A Walk Through Bethlehem." In this song, Trisha compares today's Christmas with the first Christmas. It's a beautiful ballad in which Trisha's vocals brings it to life. Trisha has the uncanning ability to perform each of these songs correctly to bring the most out of them. This album contains a bit of yesterday mixed with today's Christmases. You will enjoy it for years to come! $$$$$+


Christmas Grass
Volume 3
Featuring 3 Fox Drive & Friends

2007 - KOCH Records. 3 Fox Drive team up with a wide variety of artists to bring us this special album. The album opens with "New Star Shining," a beautiful gentle ballad performed with Sonya Isaacs. The group gains help from John Cowan in "Please Come Home This Christmas," Where as Sarah Jarosz lends her beautiful vocals in "One Bright Star." It's "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day," in which Larry Sparks lends his deep vocals to. Russel Moore lends his vocals to "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." 3 Fox Drive performs several classics like "The Christmas Song," "O Holy Night," "White Christmas," and "I'll Be Home For Christmas." However, the song that stands out the most is the closing song, "Watching Over The Soldiers at Christmas." This beautiful ballad takes us on a journey of what it's like to be a soldier at Christmas. This song includes a recitation by Charlie Daniels which makes it a powerful song. In the end you receive a wide variety of songs that many artists have sung in years past. But it's the song "Watching Over The Soldiers At Christmas" that makes this album worth buying! Share and enjoy. $$$$$


The Gathering
Various Artists

2011 - Sycamore Road. This entire album is all about a different concept. First this album started out as an idea for a group of songs about a journey home on a winter's night. It then emerged into a collaboration between a symphony, a songwriter and a string band. The beginning of the album features five songs that are supposed to capture the essence of one's journey home on a winter's night. However, they are songs that are some what out there. These songs include "Gathering Night," "Lights In The Lowlands," "Redbird," "Redbird Lullaby," "String of Pearls," and "Diamonds In The Pines." Where as the second half of the album features a collection of beautiful Christmas songs. The second half opens with a bluegrass instrumental of a Bill Monroe song called "Old Ebenezer Scrooge." The album continues with "On This Christmas Day." However, it's the next song that stands out the most. I have never heard "O Holy Night," performed with only a bass. It's a new concept that truly gives new life to this over recorded classic song. The album continues with a New Orleans style Christmas song with "On Christmas Eve." Where as "First Day of The Year," is a light hearted Bluegrass song. We then come to "I Wonder As I Wander," which is performed as a solo with no instrumentals. I agree with their choice in performing this song like this, it brings a sense of spirituality to it. The album closes with "Christ Was Born On Christmas Morn." This song is performed in a Dixie Bluegrass mix. It's a great song to end this bizarre album. The nice thing about this album is that it has a light hearted feel with in. It's an album that lifts your heart while it get's your toes tapping. Take a listen, it's worth it. $$$$


WOW Christmas
32 Top Christian Artists and Holiday Songs
Various Artists

2011 - Word Entertainment. What happens when you gather thirty-two Christian artists and ask them to record a Christmas album? What you get is pure beauty captured by talented artists who strongly believe in the truth behind Christmas. That truth and belief comes out in each and every song on this album. This album features two discs filled with thirty-two beautifully recorded Christmas carols. Songs include Christmas carols like "Joy To The World," "The Night Before Christmas," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Gloria," "Little Drummer Boy," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "What Child Is This," and many more. This album also features new songs like "You're Here," "Joseph's Lullaby," "When Love Was Born," to name a few. Each are performed by an incredible collection of artist that range from Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Natalie Grant, Chris August, Matthew West, Needtobreathe, Newsboys and many more. This album is a beautiful collection of what comes naturally to Christian artists. Bring the Joy back into Christmas with this one! $$$$$



Damn It I'm Vixen
Brian Beathard

Songcastle Music. So, the original eight reindeer got a little mad over Rudolph. Well Vixen tells it like it is with this one! $$$$$


What Christmas Is All About
Lizard Thom Case

2008 - Old Oblivion. Yeah, this song says it all! This song is about two neighbors who compete with each other in decorating the exterior of their houses. What happens next is sure to make you laugh! $$$$$


Christmas In Rehab
Kacey Jones

2009 - IGO Records. Leave to Kacey to give us a funny song about being in rehab at Christmas. If you think your Christmas is going bad, then you need to listen to this one! $$$$+


Merry Christmas From The Family
Montgomery Gentry

2000 - Sony Music Entertainment. Montgomery and Gentry share with us what it's like with their family Christmas. Of course it's sort of like a redneck Christmas. Then again, this could be your family! Enjoy! $$$$$


A Snowman In Birmingham
Pirates of The Mississippi

2006 - Evergreen Records. This beautiful ballad brings us on a journey on the power of believing. Do you believe? Take the journey and maybe you will. This song won Strictly Country's Spirit Award for Song of The Year in 2007. $$$$$


Overdrawn Over Christmas
Tommy Joe Wilson

Many of us get so wrapped up in the spirit of giving that when the bills come in January we nearly faint. Finally someone wrote a song about it. Tommy, brings us to laughter with this one. Then again, it may remind you of that year that you spent to much! $$$$+

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