Merry Christmas Wherever You Are
13 years after his first Christmas album, George Strait brings his signature touch to a new collection of old favorites and holiday originals. As is the custom on any Strait album, there is something here for everyone. He lets his pop side show on “Old Time Christmas” and “Merry Christmas (Wherever You Are)” two maudlin ballads that should appeal to fans of Trisha Yearwood’s enormously popular Christmas albums. As usual, Strait shines on the shuffling Western Swing of “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Santa’s On the Way.” “Jingle Bell Rock” is given a hard honky-tonk swing befitting Buck Owens, while “Noel Leon” is a small-town Southern story delivered in the semi-spoken style of Tom T. Hall. Ultimately, what sets this album apart from all the others is Strait’s taste and his class. “I Know What I Want For Christmas” comprises an even blend of country, jazz, and pop that only Strait can accomplish. He has old-school vocal chops, and the understated elegance with which he delivers “The Christmas Song” is worthy of his acknowledged idol, Frank Sinatra.