During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, sometimes one needs to slow down and remember the gift of Christmas while basking in the holiday’s simplicity. Christmas is not made up of sales and shopping, sites to see or making your way to 27 ugly Christmas sweater parties.
In her Christmas release from 2016, Reba McEntire reminds us of these simple truths. The majority of the album is a classical piano mixed with the legend’s timeless vocals. It takes one back to their grandparents’ house, while still remaining relevant today.
My Kind of Christmas is full of the necessary holiday classics like “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song” and “Jingle Bells.” Instead of re-wrapping these endearing gifts, these songs are met with their classic arrangements letting the listener reminisce on times past while creating memories today.
The first standout of the album is “Mary, Did You Know?” McEntire duets with Vince Gill and Amy Grant on this Christmas ballad. It is missing any vocal acrobatics and that climatic note. Instead, McEntire, Grant Gill give this song humble harmonies while letting the conviction in their vocals speak to the song’s truth.
McEntire then redefines the Broadway and Dolly Parton classic, “Hard Candy Christmas.” Sung over a brisk piano, McEntire brings a new perspective to this song. This song is the accumulation of many of her classic heartbreak songs, from “Somebody Should Leave” to “Every Other Weekend.” McEntire is calm and contemplative, yet to the younger listener, she sounds almost like she is giving advice. It’s relevant to anyone listening.
One of the biggest standouts of the album is the acoustic version of McEntire’s song “Back to God.” This time she presents it as a duet with Lauren Daigle, and it’s heart-wrenching. Literal tears want to stream down my face as both of them remind me that we are all still worth saving. Pairing these two together, a contemporary Christian artist with a relevant legend makes this song pertinent to every generation.
With this album, McEntire brings us back to simple traditions, new and old. She acknowledges there’s heartbreak during this season, but that we must go on. Ultimately, she reminds us of the love we must show one another. McEntire makes Christmas relevant to all generations with My Kind of Christmas by holding on to scared heritage, while bringing empathy and Christmas traditions to a new generation.
Add McEntire’s classic album to your Christmas playlist by clicking on the album art below.
Still want more classic country Christmas? Check out our review of this album from The Judds and another from Loretta Lynn.