In recent years, August Burns Red has made an annual tradition of putting their own spin on holiday classics. So far, the band has given us re-imaginings of "Carol Of The Bells", "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and, last year, "Little Drummer Boy". The whole tradition, however, was born from the group's desire to record a full Christmas album. Not long ago, on a Christian new release site, we spotted the name of August Burns Red on the schedule for October 18...and the listing reads "Christmas TBD". Now, needless to say, what with "Leveler" being barely a month old and the debut of the band's latest video earlier this week, there's not a word about a Christmas album on either the group's site nor the label's. But word in the hard rock forums is that this will be the full Christmas album we've been waiting for. And, who knows, we might even get an original song or two. We'll keep our eyes and ears open for you.
For the most part, the couple shunned traditional classics for original material. Only "Blue Christmas" and "Away In A Manger" come from the standard catalog that makes up the bulk of most Christmas albums. "Some people might wonder why we haven't filled this record with more of the Christmas standards," says Rory. "Well, the truth is, we feel like that's what everyone seems to do, and we'd rather try to add a new song or two to the list of holiday classics that people listen to every Christmas, rather than just give them another take on the songs we all know and love."
The album will also feature Joey + Rory's Christmas single from 2009 "It's Christmas Time" and one familiar tune that's not generally considered a Christmas song (except by Xmas music maniacs like us), Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December". And Merle, himself, is along for the ride. "We can't begin to tell you what an honor it is to have Merle singing on it with us," Joey says. "There are some dreams that even when they come true, you still think you must be dreaming... and this is one." (Speaking of Merle Haggard, by the way, he has a new album of his own due out on October 4. And, if you hurry, you can get the title track, "Working In Tennessee", as a free download.)
If you've listened to Joey + Rory a bit, you can almost hear some of the songs just from hearing the titles. "What The Hell, It's The Holidays", "Let It Snow (Somewhere Else)", and "Another Wonderful Christmas" sound like tailor-made Joey + Rory romps, while "Diamond O", "Remember Me", and "The Gift" seem likely to be powerful ballads in the hands--and voices--of the married couple.
In all, Joey + Rory released 11 of the 12 track titles. Somehow, the press people always seem to leave one out. Wonder if that's deliberate. Or maybe there's a title track. Anyway, in no particular order, here are the 11 song titles we have:
It's Christmas Time
Another Wonderful Christmas
I Know What Santa's Getting For Christmas
The Diamond O
What The Hell, It's The Holidays
Let It Snow (Somewhere Else)
If We Make It Through December (with Merle Haggard)
Away In A Manger
Eve Selis is one of a kind and she's been writing, recording, and singing the music she loves for over 20 years. She's been called "The Queen of Roadhouse Rock" and her music fits perfectly in the heart of the genre that's come to be known as Americana. The music made by Eve Selis and her band has texture--something sadly lacking from a lot of the pre-fab American Idol/Glee chart factories. She rocks, she rolls, she twangs, she sings stories, she's got soul. And the music she writes with Mark "Twang" Intravaia is some pretty amazing and memorable stuff.
Of course, we wouldn't be telling you about Eve Selis is she wasn't working on a new Christmas album that should be released later this year. And it won't be her first. Back in 2002, Eve and the band released an acoustic holiday set, "When Wishes Come True", a nice mix of seasonal favorites capped off with the beautiful title track original. For something a little folkier, she also covered Steve Earle's immortal "Christmas In Washington" on "Long Road Home" two years earlier. With nearly ten more years in the rear-view mirror, everyone was pretty well agreed it was time for a new one.
Not too many details available just yet--the band is already busy working on their next non-holiday effort due sometime next year--but Eve promises the album will include "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" and "A Baby Changes Everything"--two songs from her live Christmas set that are particular fan favorites. Stop by the Eve Selis web site, "home of Eve's Prairie Warehouse and Curio Emporium", to learn more about her music and pick up a few free downloads.
Tommy Emmanuel has been playing professionally since 1962 (he was 6 at the time). A student of Chet Atkins "finger-picking" style, Tommy is widely regarded as the greatest acoustic guitar player alive. And, finally, he's getting around to recording a Christmas album.
Jimmie Van Zant, cousin to the late Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd fame and a well established southern rocker in his own right, says he's working on a Christmas album for 2012. “There won’t be any ‘Jingle Bells,’" Van Zant told the Mount Airy News. “We’re actually writing some Christmas songs.”
Deana Martin, daughter of the late Dean Martin, is recording a Christmas album. It's one of several projects on her agenda at present. Deana has been singing the music made famous by her father and the rest of the Rat Pack, even recording a duet with Jerry Lewis several years back. One would expect the Christmas album to be in the same vein.
If you haven't already done so, you should stop by the Free List and check out the unique and stirring album from The Opiate Mass. It's a cross between Alternative Rock and Liturgical church music. I think you'll like it. I did.
Oh, and then there's this.
OK. We only get to hear about ten seconds, but Chicago sure sounds good. Expect more details on "O Christmas Three" in the near future.