Alabama has been dishing out hits for decades, serving fans “Song of the South,” “Dixieland Delight,” “Mountain Music” and many others. But now, Alabama is back with a new Christmas album entitled American Christmas, and it’s everything you would want when searching for the ultimate holiday spirit.
The 15-track album, which was released last Friday (10/6), incorporates classics like “Silent Night,” “Away In a Manger” and “Jingle Bells,” but it also introduces new tunes, such as Randy Owen’s heartfelt “First Christmas Without Daddy” and Teddy Gentry’s upbeat “ Why Can’t Christmas Day Last All Year Long.”
“Music has always been what excited us, what united us and what got us excited about getting together in 1969,” Owen says.
That same excitement is written all over the joyous American Christmas.
The fourth track of the album, “Why Can’t Christmas Day Last All Year Long,” is an original Alabama song, and it was co-written in Nashville by Gentry, Charles English and Bobby Terry.
“I’m the world’s worst critic, but when Teddy played me this song I thought, ‘This is a hit song,’” Owen says.
It features a fun, sway-worthy beat — that’s all too easy to lose yourself in — and it sounds like you’re listening to a classic Christmas track, when in reality you’re listening to an Alabama original.
“I been playing air trombone for 22 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever got to use it on a record,” Gentry says with a chuckle.
The next notable song is “Christmas Joy,” which was written by The Ventures’ Donald Wilson, Gerald McGee, Melvin Taylor and John Durrill.
“Not many guitar players don’t know the band The Ventures … just to get to sit down and play guitar with them is quite an honor, at least for this little hairy legged guitar picker,” says Jeff Cook.
This song will leave you wondering why you haven’t yet heard it. Owen’s vocals pair perfectly with Cook’s guitar strumming, and it all comes together to make a gift of Christmas song.
The 13th track, “Christmas in Dixie,” written by Owen, Gentry, Cook and Mark Herndon has been a Christmas favorite since it was first released in 1985 on Alabama Christmas.
“We came up with this idea about Christmas in Dixie,” Owen says. “Jeff turned the air conditioning down to like 62, and I was freezing to death because those of you who know me know that I hate air conditioning, but we had to get it down to get in the mood for a Christmas song.”
But this version is a bit different than the “Christmas in Dixie” you’re already familiar with.
The 2017 version is done acoustically.
“We took pointers from some of our musical heroes — The Eagles — that did this song acoustically,” Owen says.
American Christmas is the Alabama album fans have been awaiting since their last release, Southern Drawl, in 2015.
“It’s not a perfect record technically, but it’s very close,” Owen says.