Like it or not, it’s that time again: As soon as we put our turkey forks down on Thursday (if not before), holiday chestnuts will be blasting non-stop everywhere we go, from our shopping stops to the dentist to the DMV.
For some of us, this is, aesthetically speaking, an annual nightmare. Luckily for our team, it more gets us feeling festive, so we’re cool with it.
Fall more toward our side of the Christmas music divide? Every year we keep our ears out for fresh Christmas music from Nashville neighbors, both to fire up the yuletide spirit and stick with our general shop-local preferences. So far for 2017, we’ve found a few new Nashville (or Nashville-related) chestnuts that we really like, and, as with all years, a few we could leave under the tree too.
Below, a Nashville-connected 2017 Christmas playlist, spanning from country to rock to folk to pop:
Boo Ray and Elizabeth Cook, “All Strung Out Like Christmas Lights”
Rollicking country, heavy on wailing steel and barroom piano, lighter on the jingle bells. Buy “All Strung Out Like Christmas Lights” here.
Cheap Trick, “Merry Christmas Darlings”
Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson lives here in Nashville, so we at least partly get to claim the legendary band. This year, they led into the holiday season by releasing Christmas Christmas, a mix of covers and new songs (like leadoff track “Merry Christmas Darlings.” Order the album here (and, if you like, a slew of Christmas-themed Cheap Trick merch).
Zach Schmidt, “I’m Drunk Again This Christmas”
Americana label Bloodshot Records just released its first-ever holiday album, filled with “off-kilter original Xmas songs and unlikely covers” by their artists and friends. Included: this one by East Nashville singer-songwriter Zach Schmidt, perfect if your idea of Christmas vibes includes mournful fingerpicked guitar, keening steel and charmingly craggy confessions. Buy Bloodshot Records’ 13 Days of Xmas here.
Lucas Hoge, “Baby’s Got a Present”
Contemporary country voice Lucas Hoge delivered his first Christmas set, Christmas is Here, in October, and stuffed it with a mix of classics (“White Christmas,” “Silent Night”) and original co-writes, including album closer “Baby’s Got a Present,” a low-key yuletide love song. Buy the album here.
Dylan Scott, “The Christmas Song”
Rising country voice Dylan Scott just shared a holiday EP, simply titled Merry Christmas, and it’s all Christmas classics, including “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and this pretty take on “The Christmas Song.” Buy Merry Christmas here.
Blake Shelton, “Two Step ‘Round the Christmas Tree”
The reigning “Sexiest Man Alive” isn’t a full-time Nashvillian, but the country megastar and The Voice coach has spent enough time here through the years to at least be an honorary one. To cap off another big career year, Shelton’s reissued his Christmas album Cheers!, It’s Christmas as a 2017 edition, adding three newly recorded songs, including upbeat country chestnut “Two Step ‘Round the Christmas Tree.” Buy the 2017 reissue of Cheers! here.
Gwen Stefani featuring Blake Shelton, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas”
More Shelton tidings: He and fellow Voice coach/pop star/girlfriend Stefani teamed up on the bouncy and fun title track from her new Christmas album. Buy You Make it Feel Like Christmas here.
Reba McEntire with Vince Gill and Amy Grant, “Mary, Did You Know?”
Reba’s got a re-release too: Her limited 2016 release My Kind of Christmas — stocked with her interpretations of Christmas classics — hits stores again with three additions, including this collaboration with fellow Nashville stars Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Buy My Kind of Christmas here.
Shania Twain and Nick Jonas, “Say All You Want for Christmas”
Another country/pop team-up for the holidays: Longstanding country star Shania Twain (another honorary if not literal Nashvillian) for a polished pop lighter-waver with a little bit of festive glow, a lot of romance. Buy it here.
Alabama, “Ain’t Santa Cool”
Country stalwarts Alabama issued yet another Christmas collection this year, called American Christmas, with more Christmas classics (“Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland”) and a few new additions, like the light-hearted “Ain’t Santa Cool,” full of pretty harmonies and throwback vibes. Buy American Christmas here.
Tenth Avenue North, “Mistletoe (the Christmas Sweater Song)”
Nashville contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North took a unique approach to entering the Christmas-music canon, offering a concept album that’s meant to capture a century of those festive sounds. To accomplish the concept, on Decade the Halls Vol. 1, they skip from “Good King Wenceslas” to this Weezer-y bit of Christmas crunch. Buy Decade the Halls here.
Hope a few of these land on your 2017 Christmas playlist, or at least put a little info behind the Christmas songs you can’t seem to avoid this year.
Spending this holiday season looking for a new place in Nashville to call home? Getting the chance to help you find it would bring joy to our world. Reach ACRE here, or for an easy way to get your Nashville househunting process started, fill out this quick form.