Helen was born in the U.K. where she is well-known and established as a performer. She's currently based in the Cleveland area of Ohio--the result of chance meetings with her now husband. She's from London, he's from Cleveland and they met in the French Alps. Twice. That's the kind of serendipity that happens when the universe is trying to tell you something.
Not familiar with Helen Welch myself, I took my usual tour of song clips and YouTube videos. She's clearly versatile--Big Band, Cabaret, Pop, Blues, sultry After Hours chanteuse--and it's my personal opinion (based on admittedly limited input) that she's a better artist today than she's ever been.
"Home For Christmas" will feature "The Christmas Song", "Merry Christmas Darling" (done up in a cool Jazz waltz arrangement), Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic", the title track (a Helen Welch original), and much much more. Follow along on Facebook for more announcements and information as the holiday season draws closer.
Meantime, you might want to check out "Spellbound", which is absolutely stellar. And, if you need a holiday tie-in, both the title track and Helen's cover of "I Put A Spell On You" would be worthy additions to any Halloween playlist.
What you might not know about Brett Eldredge is that he's a huge fan of Frank Sinatra. All right, maybe you knew that...but I didn't. Anyway, he's just recorded a Christmas album, described as "lavishly orchestrated", that has John Esposito (president and CEO of Warner Music Nashville) gushing and comparing favorably to the holiday recordings of The Chairman of the Board. "This Christmas album show's he's a voice for the ages," Esposito says.
Ultimately, you and I will be the judge of that, but Brett already has done a Christmas song or two. Brett tackled Stevie Wonder's "What Christmas Means To Me" on the 2014 CMA Country Christmas program and you can pick that up on Amazon. But this video from last year (at Brett's--apparently--annual Frank Sinatra show) sounds more like what Mr. Esposito was on about. No release date has been announced as yet.
Once upon a time, their were two sisters who loved to sing. When the younger sister, Lauretta, was 20, she contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome, a debilitating disorder that attacks the nervous system, paralyzing the entire body. Lauretta couldn't so much as smile and certainly couldn't eat. Very quickly, her weight dropped to 75 pounds. She was confined to a hospital bed with a feeding tube and several machines to keep her organs working. As breathing became more and more difficult, doctors wanted to perform a tracheotomy so that she could be placed on a ventilator. If they did, Lauretta's vocal chords would be damaged and she would never sing again. So Lauretta resisted having the procedure done and doctors relented, having respiratory specialists check on her more frequently instead.
I'm sure you've figured out that Lauretta recovered. The doctors said that singing probably had saved her life as her diaphragm was very strong and the only muscle other than her heart that hadn't been paralyzed. She still had a long road back. She had to learn how to walk, how to talk, how to do just about anything all over again. But she made it through. She and her older sister Mary decided to pursue their music seriously. They toured Canada as an opening act for established Country artists and played to full houses of enthusiastic audiences. Then they took a break from music for a few years.
One day, the Ryan Sisters sat down to watch a movie--"The Secret". The film is a documentary of sorts centered on the power of visualizing and positive thinking (and that, I'm sure, isn't anywhere near what it actually is). The story of Morris Goodman was so much like her own that Lauretta was brought to tears. She grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and, within 10 minutes, had written a song, "There's A Secret". And it became clear to the Ryan Sisters that they should not only continue their musical dreams, but that their music might inspire others as well.
I came across the Ryan Sisters in one of my marathon Google sessions. Things on the Christmas music front should be hopping by now and they just...aren't. And it turns out the piece that said they were recording Christmas songs was from last year. And I read the story and I'm like, yeah, OK. Great story and all. But, you know, probably not my kind of music and its from last year, anyway.
But I pressed play and, dang, man, listen to these women sing! How can you not fall in love with that sound? Even without the great story. No Christmas music from the Ryan Sisters has yet been released, so far as I can tell. So I'm going to start visualizing a Ryan Sisters Christmas album for this Christmas. And, what the hell, maybe it'll work and we can "attract" a nice little Christmas miracle.