It’s a common misconception that the classic Frank Sinatra Christmas album featured Frank with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Whilst this combination was featured on two subsequent Sinatra holiday albums, the definitive Sinatra Christmas album was released in 1957 and featured the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra. It has been re-released on a number of occasions. ‘The Sinatra Christmas Album’ includes the songs that most associate with this special holiday, and is clearly the inspiration for the latest interpretation by Brett Eldredge.
Those who attended Brett’s concerts at the beginning of the year will have seen him include a ‘swing section’ to his live show. His love of the Rat Pack is well documented and it was natural that his version of a Christmas album would see him revisiting the styles of the guys who defined festive music.
This is not in any way a Country Christmas album. It is an album from a singer who knows that his voice enables him to extend into a whole different genre. The obvious comparisons with Sinatra are clear but Brett is also dabbling in the territory occupied by Michael Buble’ or Tony Bennett. Eldredge knows that if he is covering the classics it’s impossible for him to breathe new life or create something that hasn’t been done before. We have all heard these songs a million times before. So he doesn’t try. He has simply recreated that late 1950’s era with the big band and orchestration we all recognise as being the definite Christmas sound. He even recorded the album in New York as a nod to the greats that had covered these songs before.
The standards are all there. His interpretation of ‘Let It Snow’, I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’ are faultless, and stand up admirably against the originals.
There is one new song, the title track ‘Glow’ which is so good that it doesn’t appear out of place in a compilation of the definite holiday songs. The best praise that can be made of this song is that Sinatra himself would have recorded it.
‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ features Meghan Trainor. Again, it’s a song that won’t be new to anyone. It has been recorded by countless duets since its original release in 1949 for the film ‘Neptunes Daughter’. Country artists have covered it previously. Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart in 2004. Martina McBride and Dean Martin in 2007 although Dean’s vocals were recorded in 1959! Lady Antebellum in 2008 and more recently Darius Rucker, who dueted with Sheryl Crow. Brett and Meghan’s version fits with the mood of the album; Classic and embracing. Their vocals sit very nicely with each other.
It’s an album that doesn’t push boundaries. It cements Brett Eldredge’s reputation as a very fine singer. It’s often said that singing in the style of the greats is somewhat harder than it appears. Brett Eldredge makes it appear very easy.