July 25, 2014 13:40 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

  • A man stands in his backyard and looks at the wreckage of a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane that crashed on Taiwan's offshore island Penghu July 24, 2014.

    Audio Is Air Travel Safe?

    Last week, Malaysia Airline flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine killing all 298 passengers and crew. On Wednesday, July 23, two Ukrainian military planes were shot down in the same airspace. And now an Air Algeria plane crashed in Mali. More

  • Employees work at a production line prior to a seizure conducted by officers from the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, at the Husi Food factory in Shanghai, July 20, 2014.

    Audio China Arrests Five Involved in Meat Scandal

    Chinese police have arrested five employees of a Shanghai-based food supplier. This food supplier is accused of selling old, or expired, meat to several fast food chains in China. These fast food chains include two of the biggest -- McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. More

  • Algeria - Burkina Faso

    Audio Search Begins for Missing Air Algeria Plane

    Searchers are looking for an Air Algeria flight that disappeared during a trip from the capital of Burkina Faso to Algiers. The airplane is carrying at least 116 people including the crew. More

  • ** ADVANCE FOR MONDAY JAN. 13 -- FILE ** Hong Kong's general view is seen in this Nov. 12, 2002 file photo. Hong Kong's spectacular skyline contains some of the most expensive real estate in the world, although prices have fallen dramatically over the pas

    Audio Housing Costs Push Hong Kong Residents to the Rooftop

    Rising housing prices in Hong Kong are hurting low-income residents. Many people who live in the city are being forced into unsafe and illegal living situations. Some Hong Kong residents have built low-cost dwellings on the roofs --top levels -- of high buildings. More

  • Indonesian presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (L) gestures as delivers a speech, beside his running mate Jusuf Kalla, on a phinisi boat, a traditional Indonesian ship, at Sunda Kelapa port after he was declared the winner of the presidential elec

    Audio Former General Challenges Widodo's Victory in Indonesia

    Former Army General Prabowo Subianto will ask the country’s Constitutional Court to overturn the vote count. The announcement came a day after the country’s election commission named former Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo the winner of the July 9th vote for president. More

Featured Stories

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs