Sunday, October 25, 2020

Our yearly tradition with Ken from the Sounds of #Christmas - New #holiday music for 2020 #RudolphDay

Thanks so much for once again inviting me back to your blog, Michelle!

I am very excited about the upcoming season for the Sounds of Christmas (starts on November 1, which is next Sunday)!

We’re actually already on, playing Halloween music through the end of this month. For the last thirteen 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. This way, you won’t hear “Rudolph” twice an hour, and you won’t hear Bing and Mariah 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. 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 of it in this blog, and there are always surprise releases that show up as the season gets going!

First, there are previous releases that are being re-released with extra songs.

Most notable of these is probably Gwen Stefani, who released her Christmas album in 2017, and then a deluxe version in 2018. This year, she’s added two more songs to this set - a cover of “Sleigh Ride” and an original song “Here This Christmas (serves as the official theme for the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas).

Hannah Kerr’s “Christmas In Bethlehem” from 2018 gets the deluxe treatment this year, as well, with four extra songs. And Annie Lennox is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her Christmas album, “A Christmas Cornucopia”, with a special edition that includes one new song. Annie Lennox’ new one won’t be available until next month.

Meanwhile, stuff that’s “all-new” has been trickling out for the last couple of months!

Carrie Underwood released her first Christmas album in September. Terri Clark and Janie Fricke did, too (the latter is only available on her website, so far).

This month, there’s been a real flurry of releases from a wide variety of artists.

October kicked off with an all-new Christmas set from Dolly Parton! David Benoit and Jim Brickman both released very different jazz Christmas albums. R&B/soul singer Luke McMaster released his third Christmas collection, with fresh, upbeat takes of a lot of classics (and some that aren’t necessarily classics just yet, like “Christmas Vacation” and “Christmas Must Be Tonight”).

Also earlier this month, award-winning producer/composer/songwriter Tommee Profitt released a truly epic set called “Birth of A King”, which features a wide array of guests including Avril Lavigne, Chris Tomlin and Kari Jobe!

More recently, Francesca Battistelli released her second Christmas album (which has a wonderful new song, “December We’ll Remember”, among a great mix of covers and originals). And singer/songwriter Rosalie Drysdale has given us a bluesy gospel-tinged (or is it gospelly blues-tinged?) set call “Let Your Heart Be Light” (check out her version of “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and you’ll know exactly what I mean).

Restless Heart frontman Larry Stewart has released a solo Christmas album (after giving us singles for the last two years in a row).

Indie group The Bird and The Bee, who have also given us Christmas singles in the past, have just put out their first Christmas album (which includes an appearance by Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl on, appropriately enough, “Little Drummer Boy”).

And still to come in October, there will be new Christmas albums from For King & Country, the Goo Goo Dolls, Meghan Trainor and Tori Kelly (just to name a few), along with a single featuring Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldridge,

Speaking of singles, we’ve already gotten releases from Chicago’s Bill Champlin, Ana Cristina Cash, Elizabeth Chan, Colton Dixon, Ken Wank and Hootie and the Blowfish.

So, what’s coming in November?

Straight No Chaser, Home Free, Leslie Odom Jr., Jamie Cullum, Pentatonix, Madison Taylor Baez and Ty Herndon all have new releases on the way.

Plus, Bianca Ryan, Ben Rector, Jordin Sparks, Dee Snider, Tommy Lee and Shaggy have new Christmas music in the works (though it isn’t clear if these are singles, EP’s or albums - and it’s also not clear exactly when we’ll get to hear them).

The biggest surprise this year, at least to me, continues to be that some of the biggest names that have teased new Christmas music have once again gone quiet with no indication of that new Christmas music actually showing up. This includes rumored Christmas albums from the Backstreet Boys, Cher and Smashing Pumpkins. It’s early, so these could still turn up, but since these same names were saying the same thing last year, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

I am sure I’ve missed some, and I apologize if I skipped one of your favorites. Hundreds of new releases come across my desk (and into my email) every year, and I try to get to as many as I can. Unfortunately, every year, I come across truly wonderful songs that I don’t actually discover until January.

The Sounds of Christmas shifts to Christmas music on November 1. I know not everyone is ready for it that early, but we’re here for those who are. And we’re very excited to have Luke McMaster, Francesca Battistelli, Tommee Profitt, Rosalie Drysdale, Ken Wank and Madison Taylor Baez on board as a new sponsors this season, alongside our returning friends – Kenny Davies, Brynn Stanley, Suzanne’s Band, Natasha Miller, Russ Lorenson and Louis Colaiannia!

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 keeping up this Christmas tradition with us here at Christmas Spirit. Be sure to tune in to Sounds of Christmas on November 1st, and all season long. I have a link to the Sounds of Christmas in the right sidebar so you can listen while you're online. Look for the Sounds of Christmas Christmas tree, click the image and you'll be taken to the site where you can listen. Also, Sounds of Christmas has an app on Google Play so you can listen on the go...and it's free! You can find it in the Play Store here.

I will certainly be nabbing Dolly Parton's album! Which one is your favorite?

Always in spirit...