2023 Country Christmas Round-Up

Dec 02, 2023 at 06:53 pm by Bethany Bowman

There is one thing that rings true: If you can compose an original Christmas song that “sticks,” you will have income for life. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” Mel Tormé’s “The Christmas Song,” and Moriah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” are three prime examples. But at one point, each of these was a new Christmas tune that was introduced to the world.

Living in Nashville, also known as Music City, we are the hub of the songwriters’ community, and it is only natural that the next new favorite Christmas song might just hail from here. Many of my Music Spotlight artists have written new songs and a few have delivered fresh covers. The songs may be silly fun or spiritually moving, but they all encompass the joy of the season (or the sadness as is sometimes the case) with a bit of a country accent. 

I have compiled a list of notable songs (24 originals, 13 covers) that have come across my desk. With the great variety that is offered, I am sure you will find some that ring true for you.

Original Songs

Emily Ann Roberts brings us the beautifully penned song “Your Christmas Eve.” If you are fortunate enough to be with the one you love on Christmas, you know that you have all you could want at Christmas.

Before the release of her EP, Amanda Stewart shares “Since It's Christmas,” an Americana tale about two people who are no longer together but decide they may spend the holiday together.

The Texas-loving Annie Bosko only wishes for a “Cowboy for Christmas” in her upbeat song.

Regardless of the holiday, there are those of us who prefer the sun and the sand to the snow and the cold. Brady Lee’s “Christmas Down in Mexico” and Caleb Orr’s “Christmas On A Boat” are two songs made for you.

Baritone Bryan Ruby teams up with River Road Trio to give us the homespun song, “Small Town Christmas.”

The joy that Clare Cunningham brings to her music is especially evident in her brand new Christmas tune “Feel Good Christmas.”

Singing in a western swing style that was popular even before his parents were born, Drake Milligan’s hopping “Cowgirl For Christmas” will have you doing the two-step this holiday season.

For those who think there is no better thing in the world than to celebrate this joyous season, Erin Duval’s “Best Time of the Year” is for you.

Just in time for the holiday season, Flat River Band recruited GRAMMY® award-winning Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely to unleash their festive original song, "Christmas Time.”

Fresh off her Hallmark Movie acting debut, Grace Leer shares her happiness with “Star On Top Of The Tree,” a song that was part of the movie Time for Her to Come Home for Christmas.

Two of my favorite young songwriters in Nashville are Jordana Bryant and Halie. Jordana’s heartfelt “Driving Home For Christmas” and Halie’s moving “This Year At Christmas” let us know that country music and Christmas music are in very good hands. I am amazed by

Radiologist and country music guru, James Robert Webb, pulled one of his songs out of the vault to let us know that “I Just Wanna Be Your Santa Claus.”

The beautiful Kimberly Dawn has a new Christmas album that you will want to check out. The song “Snowflake State of Mind” is a sample of the joy she shares throughout the whole record.

The first Christmas song that Kinsey Rose ever wrote “Let Us Not Forget” is a poignant reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

One of the most gifted musicians I have ever encountered, Marc Scibilia, has released a 3 song holiday EP, Corduroy Christmas where you can witness a sample of his musical genius in the song “Feels Like Christmas.”

Paul McDonald shows the somber side of the holiday season as he is missing someone he loves in the song “Maybe This Christmas.”

Don’t let the title fool you. Sheyna Gee reminds us that you can’t “Cry on Christmas” in her cheery Christmas tune.

If you are in an unhappy place this year, the ex gets all the blame in The Dryes song “Why'd You Ruin Christmas?” If you can’t have the holiday you envisioned, please know that misery loves company this duo’s newest release.

Century Drive Band’s throwback sound on their new holiday tune “Nat King Cole” will have you enjoying the ones you love as you sit around the fireplace and think of Christmas’s past.

I have already featured Jamie O’Neal and Brei Carter this year. You will want to hear each of their Christmas albums. But at least listen to Jamie’s “Merry Christmas Baby” and Brei’s “Old Fashioned Christmas.”

Cover Songs

Husband and wife duo T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang have been singing together for more than 15 years. Each year they release a cover of a favorite carol. This year they have recorded a copy of Kenny and Dolly’s “Christmas Without You.” T.G. reported, “Kenny was a dear friend and mentor. So, we thought this would be the perfect song to pay him tribute.”

While I was researching this article, I came across T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang’s cover of “White Christmas” that they did with the Oak Ridge boys from 2022. Their doo-wop version of the song is so much fun. Next year they will put out a full Christmas album which I know that I will add to my collection.

Ana Christina Cash teamed with violinist Caitlin Evanson to bring us Tori Amos’ “Winter.” I’ve always said Ana could sing anything from country to opera and this rendition proves that.

Tennessee Christmas” has long been a favorite song of mine and northeast Tennessee-raised Austin Moody brings an authenticity to the tune that many may prefer, even to the original. He shared, “My childhood Christmas memories go back to the Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee. Since moving away, I have traveled to many amazing places, but nothing comes close to spending Christmas in Tennessee.”

Former Broadway singer Brooke Moriber fell in love with country music and adopted it as her own. Check out her version of “All I Want  For Christmas is  You.”

Now that his kids are teenagers, Craig Campbell recruited his daughters to join him on their family, fun cover of “Santa Baby.”

One of the most operatic songs out there, I really enjoy Jay Allen and Allie Colleen’s country version of “O Holy Night.”  They do classic carol justice with their unique cover.

Kopper and Kash have a jaunty arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and their delivery of the old-fashioned carol is exactly what the song requires.

A new favorite of mine, MaRynn Taylor brings us the simplest version of “O Christmas Tree.” She sings the tune flawlessly and you will want to add this one to your own playlist for sure.

Banjo player extraordinaire, Michael Rix has a cover of “O Come All Ye Faithful” as you’ve never heard it. His take on the song is not to be missed.

Peyton Aldridge covers one of the most beautiful newer carols, “Mary Did You Know.” He told me, “I chose to cover this song because it's always been a favorite of mine. The Gaithers and Mark Lowry hold a special place in my heart. I put my own style into this song, as I often do, and I hope listeners feel the same emotions that move me when I hear this song."

The most streamed Christmas song in recent history is Wham’s “Last Christmas.” While hundreds have covered it, Smithfield has taken it and slowed it down. It’s unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Trained under the tutelage of B.B. King, Shane Henry leads The Imaginaries as they cover Chuck Berry’s “Run, Rudolph, Run.” Your rockin’ Christmas heart will soar when you crank up the volume on this one.

Last but not least, Whey Jennings brings us the somber Christmas version of “Hallelujah.” Knowing Whey’s story and what it took to get him where he is today makes his version even more meaningful. The fact that he sounds so much like his grandfather is just the icing on the cake.

For those of you who use Spotify, I made a playlist with all these songs. Check it out here.

Let me know what you think. Message me in the comments. Merry Christmas!

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, Threads, and X (Twitter).

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