Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, the twin sons of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Rick Nelson, will release their first collection of holiday songs later this week. This Christmas, which will be available via digital outlets on Friday, November 20th, will be released in physical form on December 4th.
A spirited blend of pop, rock and country, neatly wrapped in the Nelsons’ warm family harmonies, This Christmas features special guests Molly Cherryholmes (on fiddle), and singer Alyssa Bonagura, with the latter joining them on the title track. Bonagura and the Nelsons penned the tune with her father, Michael Bonagura, of the country act Baillie and the Boys. A fresh take on the holiday theme, “This Christmas” has a sweet, romantic twist.
The brothers, who first rose to international stardom in the Nineties with the Number One pop hit “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection,” produced the new 12-track collection, which also includes lively arrangements of traditional holiday classics like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.” The album also features modern tunes such as “Blue Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” which could be mistaken for a vintage Rick Nelson recording.
The Christmas LP is just one aspect of what has become a new phase for the brothers. Just as their dad did with his Stone Canyon Band in the Seventies, Matthew and Gunnar, who now reside in Nashville, have been working on music that will bridge the gap between rock and country. In 2014, they performed a well-received set at the CMA Music Festival, which eschewed all the trappings of their pop-metal heyday and instead spotlighted the two singers and their guitars.
“Had we not had that experience, we may not have made this Christmas record and chosen this particular time to take that stand and do what our dad had to do when he started the Stone Canyon Band,” Gunnar tells Rolling Stone Country.
This Christmas is now available for preorder. The brothers are currently on tour with both their Ricky Nelson Remembered show and Christmas With the Nelsons.
Here’s the track list for This Christmas:
“This Christmas” (feat. Alyssa Bonagura)
“Joy to the World”
“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (feat. Molly Cherryholmes)
“O Come All Ye Faithful”
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
“Mele Kelikimaka” (feat. Molly Cherryholmes)
“Away in a Manger”
“Holly Jolly Christmas”
“Blue Christmas” (feat. Molly Cherryholmes)
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (ft. Molly Cherryholmes)