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10 New Country and Americana Christmas Songs to Hear Right Now

From Lee Ann Womack and Willie Nelson’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to the Mavericks’ “Christmas Time Is (Coming ‘Round Again)”

Lee Ann Womack, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, and the Mavericks all released Christmas songs this season.

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With the holiday season comes the annual return of favorite Christmas songs, not to mention those questionable ones you’ve happily avoided for the past 11 months (sorry, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”). From somber traditional hymns to countless versions of “Run, Rudolph, Run” and “Little Drummer Boy,” the introduction of new songs and albums into the mix is as welcome as that second shot of whiskey in an Irish coffee, if only to make the oft-repeated tunes a little more palatable. Here are 10 of this year’s most satisfying new entries in the Christmas canon, with nary a reindeer-flattened senior in the bunch.        

Twin Kennedy, “Cold Weather”

Currently on a Christmas tour in their home province of British Columbia, Canadian sisters Twin Kennedy (Carli and Julie) know a thing or two about how to cope with cold weather. With warm sibling harmonies, the pair blend a handful of shimmering holiday favorites (“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”) with original tunes like “Cold Weather,” which gets a retro, Mad Men-inspired video treatment in a storyline about a harried businessman returning home to ignore his doting wife. His eventual transformation – and indoor ingenuity – will warm the Grinchiest of hearts.    

Balsam Range

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Balsam Range, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

Fifty-nine years ago when “Little Miss Dynamite,” 13-year-old Brenda Lee, recorded what would become one of the top five Christmas songs of all-time, its blend of rock & roll and country was accentuated by the playing of future Nashville legends Grady Martin on guitar and Boots Randolph on saxophone. Now one of the most covered holiday tunes, it has transcended musical genres in versions by everyone from the Partridge Family to Green Day. Award-winning North Carolina bluegrassers Balsam Range include it on their 2017 EP It’s Christmas Time, and alongside mandolin, fiddle and superb harmonies, there’s the bonus gift of a sax solo. 

Lee Ann Womack

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Lee Ann Womack and Willie Nelson, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

The winner of a 1950 Best Original Song Oscar, this perennial multi-genre favorite – Brett Eldredge and Meghan Trainor recorded it last year – finds a woman being relentlessly wooed by a suitor who tries to convince her that rather than brave the elements, she should let the festive merrymaking continue. Innocent as it may have seemed post-WWII, lines such as “Say, what’s in this drink” may be less palatable today. Best to skip the suspect eggnog and revel in two of country music’s most distinct voices sharing a warm – and consensual – night in.