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Country Christmas playlist 2023!

I’m still in two minds whether ‘The old ones are the best’ or whether to embrace the new Christmas tunes that come out year after year. Over time though, I’ve learned that country artists do the best covers of the traditional songs and bring some really creative ideas to the table when it comes to original festive tunes. This year I decided to fully embrace it and have picked out my top ten releases this holiday period. So if you’re looking for something new to listen to whilst you prepare that turkey on Christmas Eve then look no further!

10. Chris Janson - Holiday Road

I always enjoyed Chris Janson’s music but really fell in love with him back in 2019 at the Grand Ole Opry. He was always so full of fun and his smile seemed to light up the room. He was a real entertainer. This song is in that vein. Janson has managed to make this 80’s holiday classic his own. Not only does it feature his signature vocals but he’s also playing the drums on this record too! Janson’s performance of this song during Christmas at the Opry got everyone into the Christmas spirit.

9. Chase Matthew - Mistletoe

Chase Matthew’s version of this song, written and made famous by Justin Bieber 12 years ago, brings it to a country audience. Produced by Austin Shaw, the addition of the slide guitar gives the song a warm feeling that the original lacked, in my opinion. Matthew’s vocals deliver the lyrics and melody well. The Tennessee native has had a fantastic year and it’s lovely to see this fast rising star embracing the Christmas spirit early on in his career.  

8. Maddie and Tae - White Christmas

Taken off the newly released extended version of their 2020 Christmas record, ‘We Need Christmas’, the duo’s version of this classic is upbeat and playful. It’s a far cry from the ballad Bing Crosby made famous. Their harmonies are of course a strong point of this track but for me, while I love the traditional version, the originality of the production and delivery took me by surprise… in a good way!

7. Randall King - Silent Night

King makes this traditional carol sound original with his baritone vocals layered on top of the mandolin and smooth steel guitar. Co-produced by King and Jared Conrad, King called it his “Christmas present from me to y’all.” He’s had quite a busy year on the road and won over UK audiences but 2024 looks even better as he releases his new record, ‘Into The Neon’ in January and heads to C2C Festival in March.

6. Alan Fletcher - It’s Gonna Be A Good Christmas

Most famous for his portrayal of Karl Kennedy on the Australian soap ‘Neighbours’, Fletcher surprised everyone with the release of the new festive favourite. He calls it a country take on an Aussie Christmas and actually, Australians are pretty good at country music! Lyrically he pokes fun at some of the stereotypical assumptions of what Aussie’s get up to at Christmas as well as drawing on his own experiences. He teams up with Adelaide country singer, Melody Moko for its delivery.

5. Scotty McCreery - Feel Like The Holidays

This is McCreery’s first festive release in 11 years and he has given it quite the outing having performed it on GMA and the Opry. Penned by Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell and Derek George, it’s a tune rich with imagery as McCreery describes all the ways it feels like Christmas. The traditional sounds of bells and horns sit nicely alongside the pedal steel.

4. Jon Pardi - Beer For Santa

This honky-tonking Christmas cracker of a tune shines a light on the playful side of Pardi. It is in keeping with his brand; it’s lighthearted, upbeat and fun, something which is reflected in the cartoon visualiser that accompanies. The video shows Pardi and his dog, cracking cold ones, leaving some out for him instead of milk and biscuits. The song is taken off Pardi’s first full length Christmas album which has gone down a treat with his loyal supporters.

3. Caitlyn Smith - Snow Day

Caitlyn Smith is one of my favourite songwriters and vocalists and so I was delighted when she released ‘Snow Day’. It definitely has the makings of a modern classic, the piano based ballad has a jazz/easy listening vibe to its melody and production. Smith teamed up with Ben West to write and produce the track and they make a great team.

2. Kate Rusby - Glorious

Taken from her seventh Christmas album, ‘Glorious’ is a hauntingly beautiful track, her angelic, breathy voice captivating the listener. The chorus melody is enchanting to say the least and the production is kept simple to allow those well crafted lyrics to land withe the listener. It has quickly become one of my favourite songs of the season, not just of those released this year but it will become a fixture of my playlist year after year. The whole album is definitely worth a listen.

1. Brandy Clark - My Favourite Christmas

This is a nostalgic original from Clark who teams up with longtime friend and collaborator Shane McAnally to pen this song. It reflects, with fondness, on a previous Christmas spent with a lost lover. Clark is lauded for her detailed, storytelling lyrics which have earned her 17 GRAMMY nominations over the years and this song boasts all the same qualities that have become synonymous with Clark’s name. For the “B Side”, Clark reimagines the classic, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ which really suits her voice and style of music. For me though, ‘My Favourite Christmas' is the best country Christmas song released this year.


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