“This is by far my favorite holiday, without any close competition,” Barnes admits at the beginning of our holiday-themed chat. He was eager to talk about celebrating the holiday and performing Christmas music.
On Dec. 18, he’ll take spread holiday cheer at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center for his eighth Nashville Christmas show. This is his fourth time performing his holiday set at that venue and he says something about it “feel so appropriate” for Christmas.
“It’s crazy to think that this Christmas show we do has become so many people’s tradition… I really, really enjoy it. I love the night. I love special guests… I genuinely get to enjoy it like the crowd does because I’m always watching in the wings or side stage. So it’s a really fun night and that venue is magic.”
At one of his early Schermerhorn shows, Barnes didn’t pull what he calls a “perfect landing.” Despite not being flawless, he was able to mesmerize everyone in the audience — including his wife. The “Christmas Tonight” singer attributes it all to the magic of the venue and the atmosphere.
Ambiance is important to Barnes, especially around the holidays, and he says his wife excels at creating that for his family. She decorates their 12 South home to the nines.
“My beautiful, wonderful wife Annie is only one or 10 with this kind of stuff. So I kind of have to brace myself when the holidays start coming,” he says before admitting that “she’s so good at it.”
Barnes also gets to enjoy the holidays with his three kids. They’re starting to create their own Nashville Christmas traditions, like viewing Cheekwood‘s Christmas lights.
“Kids are so fun for a million reasons but one of them is birthdays, holidays, you do get to do them through your kids’ eyes and excitement,” he gushes. “You kind of forget how awesome that stuff is and watching them walk through like, ‘Oh my gosh, dad.’ All of a sudden I’m running around like I’m four years old again, which I hate for my wife. It really is fun. It’s such a fun thing to have them around and to see them sort of experiencing it all for the first time.”
Their children are also getting to enjoy their dad singing holiday songs. These songs have always held a special place in Barnes’ heart.
“I love to sing Christmas songs. It’s sort of the opposite of Christmas music now, vocally for me, because that stuff is so intimidating for me. You know you hear Bieber and Ed Sheeran and some of these guys and you’re just like, ‘My voice wasn’t meant to do that’,” he admits. Luckily, he loves to perform Christmas music whether it’s his own song or a cover.
“My favorite probably is a song called ‘Mary and Joseph‘ that I recorded on the first Christmas album,” he says.
Now that Christmas is just a couple of weeks away, it’s the perfect time to start spinning those Barnes holiday albums. If you’re shopping for a Barnes fan, consider getting them tickets to the Schermerhorn — or his new EP.
On Tuesday, Barnes dropped a four-song EP, Who Knew (Vol. 1). The songs are a preview of his forthcoming full-length record that’s coming out in February. He was inspired by Mayer when it came to giving fans a tease of the record. And for a great reason.
“We thought that would be a cool way to approach doing this and see if people can live with the music a little longer. Then by the time the full album lands, there’s a real attachment to it.”
Get your copy of the new EP and stay tuned for more news on Barnes as the album release date approaches.