Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Welcome Ken from the Sounds of Christmas! What's new in #Christmas Music for 2016 #RudolphDay

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)!

I’ve started this year off doing something a little different.

For the last nine 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 hoping to take that same philosophy into more online stations, which I hope to launch in early 2017. I don’t want to drag this blog too far off topic, but if you’re interested in learning more about the future of the Sounds of Christmas, and how you can be a part of it, check out our Patreon page right here ├át https://www.patreon.com/SOCMusic

So what’s new 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!

Fans of Reba McEntire probably already know about her new Christmas album, which was actually released last month, and my understanding is you’ll only be able to find it at Cracker Barrel! Although you can probably get it from Reba’s website. Or Cracker Barrel’s website.

There’s also a really cool collection that came out last month, from about eighteen of the greatest musicians in the New Orleans area. They call themselves the NOLA Players, and the album is called “Christmas In New Orleans”. They released a video about the project before it came out, and if you’re interested, you can check that out here at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttTn3Eh6t1k

Also last month, the Laurence Juber Trio released “Holidays and Hollynights”. You may not know his name, but you probably know at least some of Laurence’s work, including his stint as a guitarist for Paul McCartney and Wings!

The “Marvelous Wonderettes” is something I stumbled across recently. This is a holiday version of a popular off-Broadway musical by the same name. The album is actually called “Winter Wonderettes”. The musical takes place during the 1968 Christmas season, and the songs are very fresh, while maintaining that 60’s girl group style.

Country legend Loretta Lynn revisited the Christmas album she released in 1966, recording new versions of many songs that appeared on that earlier release. “White Christmas Blue” was released earlier this month.

Frankie Valli, yes THAT Frankie Valli, has recorded a new Christmas album! And on "Merry Christmas, Baby" he teams up with rock guitar legend Jeff Beck! The album is called "Tis The Seasons", and it's the first solo Christmas release in his career! Frankie did record a memorable Christmas album with the Four Seasons in the 60's. And Bob Gaudio, who formed the Four Seasons with Frankie back in 1960 (and wrote many of their biggest hits), put this together with Frankie. Gaudio was also the force behind the Broadway smash "Jersey Boys"!

If you’re looking for something a little different, or if you’re a classical music fan OR a classic rock fan, you should check out Classical Blast’s “Dark Side Of The Yule”. Classical Blast is known for putting a classical spin on classic rock songs, often mixing a couple of them together. One of my early favorites on this release is the mash-up of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy” with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. To get a better idea, check out the video they made about a year ago of Radiohead’s “Creep” with a little help from Bach - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_quX90YGgaM\

Other notable releases from last month include Elizabeth Chan’s “Five Golden Rings”, Johnny Staton’s “Merry Christmas”, and the American Horn Quartet’s “The Christmas Album”.

This month has seen the release of Damian McGinty’s “This Christmas Time”. Damian was formerly a member of Celtic Thunder, and he also played “Rory” on the third season of “GLEE”.

Speaking of “GLEE”, Jane Lynch will be releasing a Christmas album, “Swingin’ Little Christmas”, next month.

Also next month, another former member of Celtic Thunder, Keith Harkin, will release a Christmas album. Harkin’s is called “Nollaig”. Nollaig is an Irish word associated with Christmas Day, and usually with the birth of Christ,

There are a lot of country artists releasing Christmas music this year. Aside from Reba and Loretta, there are also releases out from Chris Young, Rascal Flatts, Exile and the Oak Ridge Boys. Plus, there are more country releases on the way, including albums by Brett Eldredge, Kacey Musgraves, Jennifer Nettles, and a joint collection from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood!

This year, we’re also seeing a lot of releases from singers and bands that have previously put out Christmas albums. Some of these include Amy Grant, Jimmy Buffett, Straight No Chaser, Sarah McLachlan, Pentatonix, Neil Diamond, Jackie Evancho and She and Him.

And there are several artists re-releasing albums with extra songs and/or video, including the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kylie Minogue and Tony Hadley.

Plus there’s a new single on the way from Josh Groban (“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”)!

There are still plenty of rumors about other releases (including a Christmas album from William Shatner), 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!


A big thank you to Ken for all the exciting Christmas music news! My budget is going to be wrecked this year!

Always in spirit...