It’s been a busy year for Reba McEntire. The legendary artist released her 29th studio album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope and she headlined the second day of C2C: Country to Country at London’s The O2 Arena. As the Christmas season approaches, McEntire has released a collection of festive recordings titled My Kind of Christmas.
Long time fans of McEntire may find this release quite familiar. It was originally released through Cracker Barrell in the US in 2016 but for this new edition there are new tracks, guest vocalists and new artwork. My Kind of Christmas is a fairly simple album in that McEntire is accompanied for the most part by just a piano. It gives the record that feeling of being sat round an open fire with family and friends, whilst you tinkle on the piano and sing.
The album opens with Winter Wonderland, which gets things off to a jolly start. McEntire’s distinctive voice shines brightly over the jangly piano melody. The track list is made up of festive favourites from uptempo numbers such as Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Jingle Bell Rock to slower numbers like The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and the weepy classic Hard Candy Christmas.
McEntire teams up with Vince Gill and Amy Grant on Mary, Did You Know? and enlists Lauren Daigle for an acoustic version of Back to God, the original version of which was the lead single for Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. Often you hear the songs McEntire has recorded belted at full pelt but she gives a much more classy and restrained performance.
For me, My Kind of Christmas is a little too old-fashioned for my taste. There’s no doubt that McEntire sounds great but the arrangements are so simple they begin to blend into one another. The best tracks are the collaborations, particularly O Little Town of Bethlehem with Darius Rucker. The album’s closing track, Silent Night featuring Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood, originally appeared on Clarkson’s 2013 festive release Wrapped in Red and it’s one of the strongest tracks here.
Fans of McEntire will love this record but if, like me, you’ve never been all that big a fan then you’ll probably find it enjoyable but not an album you’ll keep going back to. McEntire is very good at what she does but unfortunately what she does doesn’t do a whole lot for me. My Kind of Christmas isn’t a bad album but in my opinion there are better Christmas records out there.
Track list: 1. Winter Wonderland 2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) 3. Mary, Did You Know? (feat Vince Gill & Amy Grant) 4. Jingle Bell Rock 5. O Holy Night 6. Hard Candy Christmas 7. Back to God (feat Lauren Daigle) 8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town 9. O Come All Ye Faithful 10. O Little Town of Bethlehem (feat Darius Rucker) 11. White Christmas 12. Jingle Bells 13. I’ll Be Home For Christmas 14. Silent Night (feat Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood) Record label: Big Machine Records Release date: 20th October 2017