Country music heavy-weights, Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, Brett Eldredge and Kacey Musgraves have all welcomed the holiday season with a bang this year with a festive album. But, perhaps no holiday album was more anticipated by country music fans that Musgraves’ ‘A Very Kacey Christmas.’ The title is very fitting for this album as the singer’s earthy sound is found throughout the album. Especially on her collaboration with Willie Nelson on a ‘Willie Nice Christmas’ a personal highlight of mine from the album.
The album opens with Musgraves’ velvet smooth vocals gliding over the classics ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,’ ‘Let It Snow’ a sweet collaboration with the Quebe Sisters, and ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late.’ The first three tracks are more than enough to send you on a mulled wine-fuelled OTT Christmas decorating frenzy. A ‘Willie Nice Christmas’ follows, a ukulele powered track penned by Musgraves, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne. A personal favourite of mine from the album, it makes you want to pack up and spend Christmas in Hawaii sipping rum from a coconut shell. Musgraves and Nelson’s famous voice complement each other perfectly as they flow through the track. ‘A Willie Nice Christmas’ calls for more collaborations between the duo in the future.
Feliz Navidad follows, a slight downer after ‘A Willie Nice Christmas.’ However, Musgraves owns it. Who knew she could speak such good Spanish? The strings on this track are also very impressive. Another standout highlight from the album, ‘Christmas Makes Me Cry’ follows. A track written by the fabulous Brandy Clark, McAnally, and Musgraves. A few lines in and you can hear Clark’s fantastic melancholic writing style as Musgraves soars through the lyrics. This is a vocal highlight of the album, and Musgraves proves she has vocal chops to match likes of Lambert, and Krauss. The festive gems keep coming with ‘Present Without a Bow.’ Another track co-written for this project by Musgraves. It speaks about losing love, with fantastic lyrical poise. In this track, Musgraves establishes herself once again as one of the most impressive writers in the format. Musgraves teamed up with gospel singer Leon Bridges adding a real soulful/R&B vibe to the track.
You are quickly taken back to Hawaii with The Quebe sisters on ‘Mele Kalikimaka.’ Kacey effortlessly tackles the vocals, and sets the listener in a ‘head swaying’ trance. Musgraves revisits the classics once again with John Rox’s ‘I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’ and ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.’ The steel guitar used in ‘Rudolph’ takes the classic to downtown Nashville. These two tracks are perfect for a family Christmas sing-a-long. The next track ‘Ribbons and Bows’ makes you want to dance Christmas away. Roy Hoffman’s saxophone gives the song a real “get up and move” feel. Another fantastic co-write from Musgraves, and another highlight of the album.
Finally, the album is capped off with ‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? a bluesy classic from the 40’s. Musgraves faultless falsetto is accompanied by a stunning acoustic piano, slide guitar, and clarinet. You can just picture Kacey at a blues bar sitting upon a classic piano belting out her stunning rendition of this classic. A perfect capper to a fantastic Christmas album. ‘A Very Kacey Christmas’ shot to number 9 on the Billboard US Top Holiday Album, and will surely find a place under many Christmas trees this year.