Music

Seven New Christmas Albums for 2018

Southern musicians have always innovated with holiday songs—think “Pretty Paper” and “Hard Candy Christmas.” These new releases from artists like Rodney Crowell and Old 97’s mix time-honored favorites and future classics
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Socks: A Christmas Album
JD McPherson

Don’t expect JD McPherson to change his retro tune just because it’s the holidays—you won’t find any caroling classics or ho-ho-ho’s on this eleven-song collection of originals. Instead, the Oklahoma rocker infuses his vintage sound into “Ugly Sweater Blues,” a clever, easygoing jazz number, and “Bad Kid,” a riff-heavy high point.

 

Santa Will Find You
Chely Wright

“Santa Will Find You” made its first appearance more than a decade ago, when Chely Wright’s co-writer Mindy Smith included the tune on 2007’s My Holiday. But the tender number, penned with deployed military personnel in mind, stuck with Wright over the years, and it’s the standout moment on this six-song stunner, which also includes “It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)” and “Happy New Year Old Friend,” a quiet ode to another year well-spent.

Love the Holidays
Old 97’s

After twenty-five years together, the Old 97’s have released their first Christmas record—and the Dallas band really delivers. Originals, like “Rudolph Was Blue,” will surely work their way into the yearly rotation, but the band’s dialed-up take on classics like “Auld Lang Syne” and “Blue Christmas” are easy to love, too.

Christmas with PJ Morton
PJ Morton

New Orleans musician PJ Morton has dominated radio waves as the keyboardist for Maroon 5, but his solo work is decisively funkier—and Christmas is a perfect introduction. Expect party-starting horns, orchestral strings, and infectious new takes on favorites like “This Christmas” along with two new originals.

Christmas Everywhere
Rodney Crowell

With twelve original songs and special guests like Vince Gill and Lera Lynn, this new release from the Texas troubadour is sure to yield more than a few classics. Start with “All for Little Girls and Boys,” a number that has already stood the test of time: Crowell first recorded it in the eighties, with vocals from his daughters.

Songs for Christmastime
Lowland Hum

Charlottesville folk duo Lowland Hum will make quick fans of new listeners with this haunting, understated holiday collection—their soft voices are exceedingly suited for hymns like “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” and the Johnny Cash tribute “We Are the Shepherds.” The nine-song album, which was released digitally last year, is newly available on vinyl—all the better for cozying up and enjoying the season.

Hey! Merry Christmas
The Mavericks

Grammy award-winning roots band the Mavericks blend country, rockabilly, and Latin musical influences into a raucous mix on this seasonal release, which includes eight original numbers. The whole album already feels like a classic, but if you only download one, make it the opening track, “Christmas Time (Is Comin’ Round Again)”—it’s a must for your holiday-party playlist.

 

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