July 7, 2008 / 6:17 AM / in 9 years

Sheryl Crow in Christmas spirit with holiday CD

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Christmas came early for Sheryl Crow this year, thanks to a holiday album that will go on sale in Hallmark Gold Crown stores in September.

<p>Singer Sheryl Crow performs during the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux July 5, 2008. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud</p>

Crow recorded the as-yet-untitled album for Hallmark’s annual series with producer Bill Bottrell, who previously worked with her on her 1993 debut “Tuesday Night Music Club” and her self-titled follow-up. Previous artists in the Hallmark series include James Taylor, Barry Manilow and George Strait.

WHAT SENT YOU IN A CHRISTMAS DIRECTION?

I had been wanting to do this for a while, so when the opportunity came up I just kind of jumped at it. I love Christmas music; every year we have this ritual after the Christmas Eve service, 40 or 50 people come over to the house and we play Christmas music. We pretty much rely on the same Christmas music every year, and every year I’ve said, “I‘m gonna make some Christmas music of my own.” There’s been lots of amazing Christmas records that have come out, but where Christmas music is concerned there’s always room for everyone.

GIVEN YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES, CHRISTMAS EVE AT SHERYL CROW‘S SOUNDS PRETTY INTRIGUING. DOES SOMEONE GET TAKEN TO TASK IF HE OR SHE HITS A BAD NOTE?

No, no, no -- that’s to be expected. That’s what we call art, interpretation!

WHAT KIND OF APPROACH ARE YOU TAKING WITH THE RELEASE?

The album is just gorgeous. It’s kind of a humble record; it’s very sweet and innocent and a little bit of a throwback to maybe the ‘60s or ‘70s in production. It’s definitely a departure from any Christmas record I’ve ever heard.

AND THE REPERTOIRE?

There’s just a beautifully lush, kind of soulful version of “Oh Holy Night.” And “All Through the Night,” which is a traditional carol, actually; (Bottrell) put together a beautiful suite arrangement, which is a little bit of a departure from the stoic hymn version. But the lyrics for it are fantastic. And then there are just a few songs that are fun and everybody loves them -- “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “White Christmas” and stuff like that.

DO THESE SELECTIONS REFLECT YOUR OWN FAVORITES FOR THE SEASON?

They do, but also a lot of them we picked for the appropriateness of the time we’re going through. We’ve got a lot of young kids who are overseas and away from their families. So we’re doing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Bells of St. Mary,” because they’re about somebody being away. And also Bill penned a song called “Hello, Friend,” which is about people coming back together at Christmas, which I think is really poignant.

HOW ODD IS IT TO BE RECORDING THESE SONGS IN JUNE?

It’s weird, but any Christmas season I’ve had out here has been very similar. It’s never been chilly when I’ve been here, or rainy. It’s mostly been sunny, the Christmas seasons that I’ve been here. That’s just Christmas in L.A.

Reuters/Billboard

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