By Laura M.
Look, as far as I’m concerned, any holiday party is beautifully paired with Ella Fitzgerald doing her thing. Set it and forget it. I know it would keep me merry the whole night. Who am I kidding? I could set it on just her version of “Sleigh Ride” for the entire evening and feel the cheer.
But, just for fun, just for something different, take a look at what some newer artists are doing with old-time favorites and newly-penned tunes that you can string your garland to.
Here’s what you can do:
- Go to www.allmusic.com
- Click on Advanced Search
- Select ‘Holiday’ from the Genres & Styles list
- For release date, enter the years 2000 and 2015.
Then scroll through the results and find all kinds of new treasures. Most should have an audio sample for you to listen to online and many results will have direct links to amazon, google Play and iTunes, so you can buy with one click!
You could also go to your local library’s website. They should have information about how you can stream or download songs for free.
Here are a few favorites that I adore from my iTunes library:
My Holiday by Mindy Smith. Mindy released this song (and album by the same name) in 2007. The songs have a warm, cozy feel, like she recorded all of them while drinking mulled wine next to the fireplace.
Christmas Day by JOHNNYSWIM. JOHNNYSWIM are Nashville natives who(*sniff*) abandoned us for LA but I know Nashville has a strong place in their heart. They did a Christmas tour last year, which bestie Joe and I went to, dutifully. I secretly hoped that they’d slip in some of their regular songs. I honestly wasn’t psyched about hearing their version of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ But let me tell you what: these guys wrap themselves up in these songs and give them new life. You’ll never hear “O Come All Ye Faithful” the same way again. [Seriously – the outro is gorgeous.] Check out the entire “A JOHNNYSWIM Christmas” here.
Blame it on Christmas by Jill Johnson. I know. Who the heck is Jill Johnson? So glad you asked. Jill is, essentially, Sweden’s version of Shania Twain. She’s full of strength, talent, and beauty. On a personal note, I can also tell you that she’s one of the nicest people on this planet. And if this song doesn’t put a kick in your step, I don’t know what will.
Carol of the Bells by the Bird and the Bee. God bless Starbucks. I have to say, I have discovered artists, or at least songs, I would not have otherwise heard of through them. This breathy delight comes courtesy of one of the free downloads that the Bucks offered many years ago.
Only You Can Bring Me Cheer by Alison Krauss. Bonus: go ahead and buy the whole “A Very Special Acoustic Christmas” album, which benefits Special Olympics. It’ll fill you with cheer for more than one reason.
She doesn’t have a Christmas album but check out this sweet video of Ruby Amanfu performing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” . [And then do yourself a favor and buy her latest album, Standing Still. So.Good.]
For a country flavor, check out the delightful yodeling on “The Diamond O” by Joey + Rory. The entire album, A Farmhouse Christmas, is just as sweet and down to earth as the couple themselves.
You can sort your playlist by many different elements: tempo, gender, old vs.new song. Sometimes it’s nice to have a long stream of similar kinds of songs. Other times it’s nice to alternate (say, between tempos, male then female, etc.) Play (haha) around with it and see what you like best.
Here’s how mine came out:
Let us know what gems you discover in your search or share your playlist with us. We’d love to hear (haha!) what you come up with!