Thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog, Michelle!
I am very excited about the upcoming season for the Sounds of Christmas (which starts on November 1, which is next week)!
We’re actually already on, playing Halloween music through the end of this month. For the last ten Christmas seasons, I’ve played a huge variety of Christmas music, and I’ve worked hard to play thousands of songs, without repeating the same song and the same artist. So you don’t hear “Sleigh Ride” twice an hour, and you don’t hear Johnny Mathis over and over.
I have just always felt that there’s so much good Christmas music out there, and more and more coming every year, there’s no reason to play Bing’s “White Christmas” every other hour.
I’m doing the same kind of thing with Halloween music, spreading out different versions of “I Put A Spell On You” and others, as well as separating out the songs by the same artists. So you won’t hear “Ghostbusters” over and over (and I have multiple versions of that in rotation, from all three of the different movies).
By the way, if there’s a spooky song you’d like to hear, you can certainly let me know and I’ll do my best to play it for you!
So what’s new in Christmas music this season?
Once again, there is a lot of terrific new music this year, much of which is already out! I’m sure I won’t be able to get to it all in this blog, and there are always surprise releases that show up as the season gets going!
First, there are several notable releases that are being re-released with extra songs.
Last year’s Cracker Barrel exclusive from Reba McEntire (“My Kind Of Christmas”) is already out again. Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Darius Rucker and Lauren Daigle guest on the new tracks for this re-release.
Similarly, Pentatonix’ album from 2016 has been reissued in a “deluxe” version with five new songs (including a duet with Jennifer Hudson on “How Great Thou Art”).
Train’s 2015 Amazon exclusive album “Christmas In Tahoe” is also getting the deluxe treatment later this week, with an added five songs. There seems to be some confusion about which songs are being added, so we’ll have to wait until Friday to know for sure.
And for its tenth anniversary, Josh Groban’s smash album “Noel” is coming out again, with six bonus tracks. “Believe” from “The Polar Express” will be included, along with last year’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” single. There will also be a duet with Tony Bennett on “Christmas Time Is Here”. This one’s due the first week of November.
There was also a new Elvis Christmas album released. This one is part of the recent series created pairing the King’s original vocal recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I was skeptical, but the result is really beautiful. By the way, there will be a deluxe version of this one due in November with the orchestral treatment given to some of Elvis’ gospel songs.
And still to come this month is a second Christmas album from Hanson (yes, that Hanson – the three brothers who famously gave us the giant 1990’s hit “Mmmbop”.
In November, Sia, Chante Moore, Patti Labelle and Sha Na Na are all expected to release new Christmas albums. And a Soundstage performance that Chris Isaak originally recorded about ten years ago will finally surface as an album (it was previously available on DVD).
Also in November, Seal is releasing an album of standards, which will include two Christmas songs.
And believe it or not, there’s a new Frank Sinatra Christmas album on the way. This one will be a “duets” kind of release, featuring Frank’s vocals paired with other artists (like the Elvis Christmas duets album a while back).
There are also rumored Christmas releases on the way from Dolly Parton, Blackhawk, Point Of Grace and Fifth Harmony.
Speaking of Fifth Harmony, they do have a song on the soundtrack for the upcoming animated holiday feature “The Star” (which also includes new songs from Mariah Carey and A Great Big World).
There are still plenty of rumors about other releases (though the long-rumored Christmas album from William Shatner has been pushed back to next year), so stay tuned for the latest. And once the Sounds of Christmas gets rolling, I’m hoping to bring back an hour of all-new Christmas music every week night at 8:00pm (Eastern)!
Hope you’re able to spend at least some of your holiday season with us!
And may you always believe in Santa Claus!
Thank you, Ken! I'm so looking forward to so many of these! Readers, you can access Sounds of Christmas in the right sidebar.
Ken mentioned Halloween so this is the perfect time to announce our new Halloween page! You can access it in the right sidebar menu. I'm going to be adding to it before next year rolls around and you can expect some Halloween themed posts coming to the blog next October. Let me know what you think! Happy Halloween!
Don't forget...Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas starts this weekend on Friday, with Christmas favorites in the afternoon and a new movie premiering Saturday, Marry Me At Christmas. Watch a preview here.
Looking forward to the upcoming season!
Always in spirit...