Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rudolph Day: Ken from the Sounds of Christmas is Back to Share this Season's New Holiday Music

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

Fans of Kenny Rogers probably already know about his new Christmas album, which was actually released last month, along with the news that he was heading out on his final tour! If you’re a fan and you haven’t gotten it, yet, Cracker Barrel stores have it with one extra track! If you don’t have a Cracker Barrel near you, it’s also available everywhere else. Kenny has put out many Christmas albums over the years, including recordings with Dolly Parton and a live set just a couple years ago!

A name you may not know is Russ Lorenson. He’s kind of an old school jazz singer, in the style of classics like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. His second Christmas collection was released last month, and it’s called “In The Holiday Spirit”. This is a great collection of Christmas songs that you don’t always hear (no offense, Mariah). I was particularly delighted to hear his version of “Kissin’ By The Mistletoe”, which I first heard performed by Aretha Franklin in the 1960’s!

Rockabilly star, and former Stray Cat, Brian Setzer (and his orchestra) return with their third Christmas release (not counting a greatest hits collection and a live set). It’s been ten years since his last Christmas release, and this is still fresh and sounds like all involved are having a great time. In addition to some songs you’ll know, which get his cool, swing treatment, he also performs “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide”, which is the theme to “The Flintstones” with Christmas-themed lyrics substituted for the original words!

Mannheim Steamroller is also back with a live CD (and DVD) from their Christmas concert tour last year. You’ll hear all your favorites there, performed in concert (which is cool, but it’s better if you can actually go see them in person – and they are touring again this year, so check your local venues to see if they’re coming near you)!

I feel like I should put in a warning here. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who are often mentioned along with Mannheim Steamroller, have a new album this Fall, too, but it is not a Christmas release. If you like their music, you’ll certainly enjoy it, but if you come across it thinking it will be holiday music, you’ll be disappointed.

LeAnn Rimes is also back with her second-in-a-row Christmas release. This one is called “Today Is Christmas”, and there is a version at Target that has three extra songs. The regular version is available everywhere else. She does a nice duet with Gavin DeGraw on Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home”, and she even has a couple originals in there along with great versions of some of your favorites. One of the extras on the Target version is a wonderful version of “Pretty Paper”!

And if you can believe it, KC and the Sunshine Band have just released their first-ever Christmas album, “A Sunshine Christmas”. Fun originals on this, as well as a pretty unique version of “Carol Of The Bells”!

Other artists whose releases are already available include India.Arie, the David Benoit Trio, T. Graham Brown, MercyMe and Danny Gokey!

And still to come in October are new Christmas releases from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Placido Domingo, Wynton Marsalis, Rhonda Vincent and the Braxton Family!

In November, we’re expecting new Christmas music from Train, Donny and Marie, Kylie Minogue, the Count Basie Orchestra, Nick Lowe (with Los Straitjackers) and the Jersey Boys’ Travis Cloer!

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.
Always in Spirit...