November 01, 2014 07:32 UTC

Entertainment

'Tis The Season for New Christmas Albums

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Rod Stewart performing last month at the lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City
Rod Stewart performing last month at the lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
 
I’m June Simms with Christopher Cruise. Tuesday is Christmas. New Year’s Day comes a week later. As a result, you hear holiday music right now in almost every public place in America. It is being played in stores, restaurants and on the radio. And, today we are playing holiday music on AMERICAN MOSAIC.
 
Every year, many performers record new Christmas music albums and singles. June and I are going to talk about, and listen to, some of the recent releases.
That is Rod Stewart and Michael Buble performing “Winter Wonderland.”  The song can be found on Rod Stewart’s album “Merry Christmas, Baby.” It is the first holiday album he has recorded in his 50-year career.
 
Michael Buble is not the only guest artist on “Merry Christmas, Baby.” Rod Stewart sings “We Three Kings” with Mary J. Blige.
 
Cee Lo Green is also on “Merry Christmas, Baby.” But the R&B singer also just released his own holiday album.  “Cee Lo’s Magic Moment” includes traditional religious songs like “Silent Night,” children’s’ hits like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and even lively dance songs like this one, “What Christmas Means to Me.”
 
Lady Antebellum has a lot to celebrate this holiday season. Twenty-twelve was a great year for the American country pop band. The group received its seventh Grammy Award and its second Grammy for best country album of the year with “Own the Night.”
 
This year, Lady Antebellum also released its first seasonal album. “On This Winter’s Nights” includes several songs the group recorded earlier in its career. But their recording of the well-loved Donny Hathaway song “This Christmas” is all new.
                        
Also new for 2012 was a first Christmas album from country singer Blake Shelton. The 36 year old star was born and raised in Oklahoma. He talks about Christmas there on a video you can see on his website. He says an Oklahoma Christmas is the only one he knows and it is all about family.
 
“It’s fun. I came from a really big family --- huge family, when it comes to and aunts and uncles and cousins and nephews. I’m not even sure how some people are kin [related] to me. I just see ‘em every holiday.”
 
Here, he sings “Oklahoma Christmas” with another country music star: Reba McEntire.
 
Now, Blake Shelton shares a song with family. He and his wife, singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert, perform “Jingle Bell Rock.”
      
There are sweet and sad notes on the first holiday album from Tracey Thorn. She sings Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas,” with such simplicity that the words about the pain of loss seem truer than ever.
Tracey Thorn also wrote two of the songs on “Tinsel and Lights.” In “Joy” she describes life’s conflicting forces: good and bad, light and dark. She sings: you loved it as a kid / and now you need it more than you ever did / It’s because of the dark / we see the beauty in the spark / that’s why / that’s why / the carols make you cry.
 
There are also some new albums that do not need words to express the spirit of the holiday season. Saxophonist Jeff Sparks’ “Jazzy Christmas” is all instrumental. Here he provides a fresh feel to the traditional Christmas carol “O Holy Night”.
 
Maxi Priest performing last week in Hollywood, FloridaMaxi Priest performing last week in Hollywood, Florida
x
Maxi Priest performing last week in Hollywood, Florida
Maxi Priest performing last week in Hollywood, Florida
If you like a reggae sound to celebrate the holidays, Maxi Priest has it with his new album, “Time of the Year.” The 51 year old British musician said he had a lot of fun making the record, the first holiday album of his career.
 
We leave you with Maxi Priest performing “I As A King.”
and more on American Mosaic in VOA Special English.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • FILE - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping as they arrive to the Monument to the People's Heroes during a ceremony marking Martyr’s Day at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Sept. 30, 2014.

    Audio China’s Constitution Receives New Attention

    The constitution took effect in the early 1980s, when the Communist Party was opening up the country economically. Now China is at a new crossroads. Observers say it is reaching for a new economic growth model. Chinese officials will promise to defend its rules when they take office. | In The News More

  • Video More US Hispanic Women Convert to Islam

    Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. The Pew Research Center says about six percent of American Muslims are Latino. And women make up a little more than half of the new converts -- the people who have changed their religion to Islam. More

  • This image released by USCIS shows a sample of the front of the redesigned green card carried by foreign-born residents living permanently in the U.S. The Homeland Security Department is issuing the redesigned "green card" that is stacked with safety feat

    Audio US 'Green Card Lottery' Ending November 3

    State Department’s Diversity Visa program closes November 3rd. Millions of people have entered the program, hoping to win a visa. But only 50,000 are chosen. 5,000 more are available under the Nicaraguan and Central America Relief Act. The green card lottery closes on Monday. | As It Is More

  • A convoy of peshmerga vehicles is escorted by Turkish Kurds on their way to the Turkish-Syrian border, in Kiziltepe near the southeastern city of Mardin October 29, 2014

    Audio Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Kobani

    Also in the news, Burkina Faso ends efforts to extend its presidential term limit after protests in the capital. Ukraine says the EU will be guarantor in any gas deal with Russia. Myanmar holds a major meeting Friday. And claims of cheating delay SAT results for South Korean and Chinese students. More

  • Video Singapore Film Ban Raises Free Speech Issue

    The documentary film, “To Singapore, with Love” tells about political dissidents from Singapore. The film has been shown at public events in Britain, India and Malaysia, among other countries. But one place the movie cannot be seen is Singapore. That is because the government there has banned it. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama Halloween

    Audio Halloween Is Big with Kids and Business

    The National Retail Federation says sales of Halloween goods will total about $7.4 billion this year. It says the average American will spend about $77. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate. The NRF predicts 54 million of them will hold Halloween parties. | American Mosaic More

  • A print shows the Second Battle of Bull Run, also called Second Manassas.

    Audio South Defeats North Again at Manassas

    Lincoln named George Pope to lead the Army of Virginia. He wanted to join Pope’s forces with the Army of the Potomac and break through Confederate defenses around Richmond. But General Robert E. Lee decided to hit Pope first. More

  • Star House

    Video Home of Last Comanche Chief Close to Ruins

    One of the most interesting people in U.S. history is Quanah Parker, the last chief of the country’s Comanche Indian tribe. Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Quanah Parker was a fierce fighter. More

  • FILE - A veterinarian at the nonprofit Bali Animal Welfare Association gives a rabies shot to a puppy in Kebon Kaja village, Bangli Regency in Bali, Indonesia.

    Audio Mass Vaccination of Dogs Can Eliminate Rabies

    About 70,000 people worldwide die every year of rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that people get mainly through dog bites. Scientists say vaccinating dogs can effectively get rid of rabies outbreaks in dog populations. And this will have a domino effect, fewer humans with rabies. More

  • Methane oxidizing

    Photogallery Small Organisms in Deep Sea Rocks Eat Methane

    The gas methane has been linked to rising temperatures on Earth. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as another “greenhouse gas” -- carbon dioxide. Scientists say both gases trap heat from the sun. They prevent heat from escaping into outer space. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs