I’m just not hearing those sleigh bells approaching. Might be that I’m getting old. Could be because I’ve been doing this—one way or another—for over 40 years. As one of my trading partners noted last year, I’m at an age where I intend much but accomplish little. Maybe its because we didn’t have a single flake of snow this past winter (ouch, that hurts). And, you know, the on-line distribution catalogues that often gave me an early head start haven’t shown up yet. Can’t really get started on The List without them. But the sooner I clear out the backlog of projects I’ve known about for some time, the sooner I can get on to the hunt and the thrill of discovering the hidden gems off the beaten path that cry out to be heard.
Much of what we’ll mention in this post will be old news to those obsessed with the sounds of the season. Heck, some of its even old news here at Stubbys.
For example, we told y’all last year about Meat Loaf’s coming Christmas set, “Hot Holidays”, which is expected to feature contributions from and collaborations with Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire among others. Don't assume Meat's gone Country though--not entirely anyway. Mr. Loaf is promising a fun and diverse set with Country, R&B, Rock and Roll, some general silliness perhaps, all wrapped up in a Christmas package that, in the end, sounds like Meat. Er...Loaf.
And we may have been a bit premature last August when we reported the Colbie Caillat Christmas album (though it was the label that jumped the gun on their own web site—we just reported finding it listed there), but it’s definitely a go for 2012. The album is being produced by Colbie’s father, Ken, who helped produce Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Rumours” LP in the 70s. They began work on the project in earnest in April. Among song possibilities, Colbie has mentioned “Winter Wonderland” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, but I’d still like to hear a full length version of her “25 Days of Christmas” jingle from a few years back.
Last month, we told you about the Cee Lo Green Christmas record. That holiday spirit seems to have infected fellow The Voice judge Blake Shelton. The country star has confirmed that he’s hard at work on a Christmas record which is expected to be released later this year. It would be Shelton’s first full-length holiday effort, though some may recall Blake’s 2002 recording of his favorite holiday song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” which was included on the Universal/Warner Special Products CD “Country Christmas 2002”. Blake also appeared on the 2008 Larry The Cable Guy Christmas special. Christmas being a family affair and all, I, for one, hope we’ll get a little participation on the disc from Blake’s better half, Miranda Lambert.
Other Country artists with Christmas albums in the works include The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker, and Martina McBride. McBride's previous Christmas long play was 1999's "White Christmas". Her new holiday album is being produced by Ron Fair. Additionally, we might finally get the full length disc Little Big Town was working on last year and, for sure, we'll be getting the new Xmas CD from Canadian Country crooner Gord Bamford--also pushed back from 2011.
The Contemporary Christian artists are usually first out of the starting gates with their Christmas projects. One of the biggest names from CCM to have announced thus far is Jeremy Camp, whose rendition of "O Come All Ye Faithful" has been kicking around for a few years now (at least since 2007), as has "Christ Is Come". This year, Camp is gracing us with a full Christmas album which is reportedly about finished.
For folks dreaming of a soulful strut this Christmas, previously announced projects from Eddie Floyd and Percy Sledge should drop this fall. El DeBarge, who included a trio of holiday tracks on the Deluxe Edition of "Second Chance" in 2010, plans to release a full-length Christmas CD later this year.
Monica's Christmas album was allegedly pushed back from last year to this one. And Brandy, not to be outdone, has expressed a desire to record a Christmas record, as well, though there hasn't been anything definitive on her doing so in time for Christmas 2012 (she's been kicking the idea around since at least 2010). Quoth Brandy, "I need to do a Christmas album. That Christmas album is overdue."
Richard Marx and Ozzy Osbourne are also reportedly putting holiday albums together.
Our friends at the Yule Log have reported that Real Gone Music will be putting out a 2-CD Percy Faith set that combines Percy's out-of-print 1958 album "Hallelujah" and the original 1954 mono recording of "Music Of Christmas"--both remastered with the kind of care and love Gordon Anderson has long been known for.
Additionally, the 2-CD set will include three tracks which were issued as Columbia 45s in 1950 and never issued on CD--"Christmas In My Heart", "Christmas In Killarney", and "Sleigh Ride".
Chip at the Yule Log laments that Sony was not willing to relinquish rights to the stereo re-recording of "Music Of Christmas" (which has never been out-of-print) for a proper remastering. Nonetheless, the combination of these two Percy Faith Christmas recordings (properly remastered and with the original cover art) promises to be a highlight of the 2012 Christmas music season. Full details on this one over at The Yule Log. And, generally speaking, Gordon releases more than one Christmas set in any given year. And THAT means...there's likely more good news to come from Real Gone!
Well, that's about it for the big names...so far. Chew on these for a day or two (or seven) while I put together a post of emerging and Indie artists planning Christmas presents for this fall and winter.