I dropped the proverbial needle on the record of Alan Jackson’s re-release of “Let It Be Christmas”, and from the very first word uttered a reassuring sigh of relief permeated my spirit. If that sounds a bit profound, well, we are talking about a true legend in his own time.
There is something warm and comfortable about an experienced vocal when it comes to holiday songs. Like dad’s voice over his coffee cup on Christmas morning, or grandpa saying the blessing before dinner. You lose yourself in Alan’s distinct tone on this record. He keeps the arrangements traditional, adding some small parts here and there to the original tracks. This is not a “country” Christmas album. This is Alan Jackson singing Christmas songs, I mean, really singing.
The 25 year industry veteran belts out a collection of classic holiday standards with the exception of title track “Let It Be Christmas” which he penned himself for the original 2002 release. In this song we get to hear Jackson being Jackson. It sounds a bit more country and features his particular vocal stylings.
“White Christmas”, is a hard tune to impress me on. It takes a special brand of soul and emotion for a singer to bring themselves to par with Bing. AJ’s rendition does that remarkably. The strings and keys, along with soft back-up vocals, accompany Alan’s cradling sound. A flood of nostalgia washes over me as he sings “Silver Bells”. It hearkens me to being a small child in upstate New York riding in the backseat of my mother’s car. People walking on snow peppered sidewalks and silver bell decorations adorning the street lights and power poles. The school, the hardware store, video store, library, all dressed up for santa.
The re-release of “Let It Be Christmas” comes on the heels of Jackson announcing his 25 Years of Keepin’ it Country Tour. The celebration also entails a dedicated exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum along with a slew of other exciting events and guest spots. The album is brought to us via ACR and EMI records and is available at all digital retailers.
At the risk of being weird, (which is not that much of a risk for me), I have to conclude by saying this album is like a welcoming hug from an old friend. Alan Jackson is just as timeless as the songs he sings on this record. So many artists put out country versions of holiday staples, some really good and some a bit campy, and that is what distinguishes Jackson. Keeping it traditional was the perfect way to go. So everyone raise your eggnog (spiked with Blue Chair Bay Rum I hope), turn the speakers up a little too loud for seasonal music, and join me in saluting a true icon. Here’s to another 25 Christmases of Alan Jackson music.