Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rudolph Day - Ken Kessler from the Sounds of Christmas shares 2014's new holiday music

So excited to welcome back Ken Kessler to the blog this year! Let's find out what new holiday music we have to look forward to...

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 next weekend)!

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, and there are always surprise releases that show up as the season gets going!

Fans of Sandi Patty probably already know about her new Christmas album, which was actually released back in September at Cracker Barrel stores! If you don’t have a Cracker Barrel near you, it has now been released at more traditional outlets. You can find “Christmas Blessings” on Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.

A name you may not know is Jean Watson. She has a Celtic-flavored album just out called “Christmas...Not The Way It Seems”. This one is her second Christmas album, and it includes a beautiful version of “Coventry Carol” as well as one of my favorite versions of “Do You Hear What I Hear”!

Sax genius Dave Koz returns with a new Christmas album called “The 25th it features a bunch of his friends, including Johnny Mathis, Gloria Estefan, Richard Marx and Kenny G (just to name a few).

Similarly, Michael W. Smith has released “The Spirit Of Christmas” attributed to Michael W. Smith and Friends. His friends include Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Amy Grant and Bono!

The man behind “Family Guy”, Seth MacFarlane, has also released a Christmas album, and it’s not what you’re probably expecting. This is a serious musical effort, and Seth is backed by a terrific big band. It’s called “Holiday For Swing” and while it does include a couple of duets (Norah Jones, Sara Bareilles), it’s mostly Seth and the band. Their version of “Man With The Bag” is fantastic!

And one that will probably be among the most popular this season is “Holiday Wishes” from Idina Menzel (the singer who gave us “Let it Go” from “Frozen”). There’s only one duet on this one (with Michael Buble on “Baby It’s Cold Outside”). While it does run the risk of being quickly over-played on traditional radio, I must admit her version of “The Christmas Song” was the first thing I heard this fall that immediately put me in the Christmas Spirit!

Other artists whose releases are already available include Rick Lang, Renee Fleming, Michael Feinstein, Blind Boys of Alabama (with Taj Mahal), Anthony Hamilton, Pentatonix and Earth,Wind & Fire!

And still to come in October are new Christmas releases from Darius Rucker, Celtic Thunder, LeAnn Rimes and former Dukes of Hazzard stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider!

There are also some exclusives out there...

Jim Brickman has a new one that’s only available through Amazon. It’s called “On A Winter’s Night” and it includes instrumentals as well as collaborations with Kenny Rogers, John Oates and Orla Fallon.

Target has an exclusive from Celtic Woman called “O Christmas Tree”, which features tracks from their “Home For Christmas - Live From Dublin” DVD that came out last year. Target will also have an exclusive Christmas CD from Ashanti next week!

Target also has an exclusive version of Idina Menzel’s CD with two extra songs, and they will have an exclusive version of Sandi Patty’s CD with two extra songs, too!

In November, we’re expecting new Christmas music from India.Arie, Larry Carlton, Heart, B.J. Thomas and the cast of Downton Abbey! Plus, Wal-Mart will have an exclusive Christmas CD from Sara Evans!

There are still plenty of rumors about other releases, of course, so stay tuned for the latest. And once the Sounds of Christmas gets rolling, we’ll be featuring 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!


Be sure to visit the Sounds of Christmas HERE (or click the image above or the player in the top of the right sidebar) starting November 1st and subscribe to the list to get in on the fun contests Ken offers throughout the season.  

Always in spirit....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Look...the blog has a new design...and a test post!

The best time of the year is just around the corner and so The Christmas Spirit is getting ready to go for the season! And then, low and behold, I find out that my Feedburner (for email subscribers) was messed up! So this test is partially for that. I'm pretty sure it's fixed now. I really messed things up when I changed the blog url in August. Doh!

AND...I rolled out a new look! I hope everyone likes it. I know I had some concerns voiced last year that it didn't look Christmas-y enough. I gave it some thought and decided that I kind of agreed. Thus, the new look. I'm really loving it!

Stay tuned because this Saturday on Rudolph Day, Ken Kessler from Sounds of Christmas will be here with the news on all the new Christmas music releases this year. I can't wait!

Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments...whether it's about the new design, or how excited you are about the upcoming holidays AND the Christmas Spirit read-a-thon and reading challenge!

Always in spirit...