Whether glossy and heartfelt (Clarkson's Wrapped in Red) or earnest and playful (Lowe's Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family), these albums can help conjure a holiday mood in the month before Christmas.
In his new book, the guitarist, singer and songwriter shares stories from life growing up in a musical household and talks about collaborating and sharing the stage with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra and Paul McCartney.
Thorn has recorded a holiday album, Tinsel and Lights, that critic Ken Tucker says might just work for warmer weather, as well. Tucker praises Thorn's voice as "bolstered by a firm intelligence," and says she avoids the fatty treacle that often weighs down Christmas albums.
Songwriter Hugh Martin, who co-wrote the classic song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for Judy Garland's 1944 movie, Meet Me in St. Louis died on Friday. He was 96. Fresh Air remembers Martin with highlights from a 1989 interview.
Every holiday season brings a new batch of seasonal pop music, some of it from unlikely or obscure sources. Rock critic Ken Tucker has listened to most of the new holiday collections released this year, and has chosen three albums that ought to make your season a bit more festive.
Two kinds of people consume Christmas music: those who actually like the stuff, and folks who need something listenable on hand in case seasonal visitors insist on some ornamental mood music. For both groups, two new jazz brass albums should do the trick. Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews.
The news that Bob Dylan was making a Christmas album came as a surprise. Now that Christmas In The Heart has been released, with the announcement that all profits will go to charity, it's caused even more consternation, with commentators divided as to whether it's an earnest effort or one big put-down. Rock critic Ken Tucker offers his opinion.
Comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert talks about A Colbert Christmas: the Greatest Gift of All. It's a take-off on all the old Christmas TV specials of yore hosted by the likes of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams. On the show, Colbert welcomes special guests Feist, Toby Keith, John Legend, Willie Nelson and Jon Stewart.