by Michael P. Coleman
Country superstar Darius Rucker was recently asked, upon the release of his new Home For The Holidays, why the world needed yet another Christmas album. He said he didn’t know whether the world needed one, but he wanted to make one, so he did.
“We wanted to make one of those records that a fan of R & B music would put it on and go ‘That’s a good Christmas record’. And a fan of Country music would put it on and go “That’s a good Christmas record”, Rucker says. “And a fan of pop music would go ‘That’s a pretty cool Christmas record!’ I hope it’s one of those records that people just love.”
This person does.
The album’s highlights include “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” as well as the more sacred “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. Rucker’s chemistry with Sheryl Crow on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is playful and flirty and contagious – in fact, it’s one of the handful of covers of that particular song that I really like.
The album’s two original songs, the sweet “Candy Cane Christmas” and the absolutely gorgeous “What God Wants For Christmas” all but assure we’ll be playing Home For The Holidays for many Christmases to come.
I wish Rucker had included the oft-ignored prelude to the album’s closer, “White Christmas”, but he sings the more familiar rest of the song so well that all’s forgiven. The project’s only real “miss” is “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. It’s a hard song to cover, and not even Rucker’s baritone can match the perfection of Thurl Ravenscroft’s on the 1966 original, from the seminal holiday special.
The world may not have needed Home For The Holidays, but it’ll be a merrier Christmas now that we’ve got it.
Darius Rucker‘s new Home For The Holidays is available on iTunes, at dimple.com, and at retail everywhere.
Rucker will perform on NBC‘s Christmas In Rockefeller Center, joining Mariah Carey, Prince Royce, Billy Porter and others on December 3rd at 8pm PST / EST.
Michael P. Coleman is a Sacramento-based freelance writer who is often mistaken for Darius Rucker – until he starts singing. Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP