Brad Paisley Christmas Bottom Line:I'll say it. Brad Paisley is my favorite of the new country singers - one of the few who manages to please a mainstream audience while remaining one-hundred-percent true to tradition and roots. Now here comes the standard Christmas album, practically a requirement for nearly every recording artist in existence. Still, Paisley manages his first holiday recording with his usual style and humor, and always (always!) Country.
'Brad Paisley Christmas' is not your ordinary Christmas Album
I guess everyone has to record some kind of holiday album at some point in their career - some artists come out with new ones every year. And sure, there's plenty of versions of "Silver Bells" and "Winter Wonderland" and "Silent Night" out there already. But I ask you, where else will you find "Penguin, James Penguin"? That's right. Brad Paisley puts his own unique, country-humor stamp on Christmas with this disc, and I laughed out loud at this installment of the Kung Pao Buckaroos, singing a "completely non-offensive and politically correct holiday" song. Once again the Buckaroos feature George Jones, Bill Anderson, and "Little" Jimmy Dickens; once again, it's funny and you probably won't get the jokes if you haven't listened to some of Brad's earlier recordings, but you know, I don't care as long as Brad's giving these guys a chance to be heard by his young, mainstream audience. Okay, it gets a little hokey. Well, so what? So did Hee Haw, and I still miss that show. Brad likes to put a little slice of old-time country humor on his discs, and I approve of it. (Speaking of Hee Haw, Brad also includes his own version of the Buck Owens Christmas classic, "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy.")
One real treat on this disc for any Brad Paisley fan is the inclusion of a recording of Brad when he was 13 years old (before his voice changed), on Jamboree USA, singing an original Christmas song, "Born on Christmas Day." His young voice is a little shaky, but solid; and it's a pretty impressive song written by a kid his age. Through the magic of modern recording, Brad joins his younger self for a pretty nifty duet - this is probably the strongest and best track on the disc (although I really do like the humorous "Penguin, James Penguin"). It's nice to hear the traditional Christmas tunes done by Brad, but again, we have all those songs already; there's some country singers who do versions of some of them that I like better (f'example, I really do prefer Dwight Yoakam's arrangement of "Silver Bells," and Garth Brooks pretty much captured the best-ever version of "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy" since Buck himself did it), and those are probably the ones I'll reach for when the season rolls around each year - but I know for sure Brad's original carols will be joining my favorite seasonal songs, as well as his sharp instrumental version of "Jingle Bells," featuring Brad's exceptional guitar work.
Brad Paisley Christmas Track List:
- Winter Wonderland
- Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy
- I'll Be Home For Christmas
- Away In A Manger
- Penguin, James Penguin
- 364 Days To Go
- Jingle Bells (Instrumental)
- Silent Night
- Born On Christmas Day
- Silver Bells
- Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday (featuring the Kung Pao Buckaroos)