We at AGM are true lovers of the holiday gift-buying season and the wonderful Christian holiday of Christmas. And being fans of the holiday – we are therefore required to love all things Christmas music. We’re going to help you sift through all of this year’s holiday offerings, and hopefully you can find that one (or more if you so please) seasonal recording to make your holiday the best it possibly can be! These aren’t all Southern Gospel releases – but there may be a few here that you might find enjoyable as well!
The Nelons – We Need a Little Christmas (Daywind Records)
For fans of: Karen Peck & New River, Little Big Town, Lady A.
Great to have on while: driving around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.
I’m not sure there’s a group in the industry who does Christmas music better than The Nelons. Amber and Autumn’s impressive vocals are tailor-made for the gift-giving season, and Jason’s impeccable vocal arrangements and song choices are daring as usual. You don’t want to miss their awesome covers of songs like “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Toyland,” “Mele Kalikimaka,” and my personal favorite, “Jesus.”
Gerald Wolfe – Keys to a Peaceful Christmas (Daywind Records)
For fans of: instrumental arrangements of Christmas carols, Gordon Mote’s instrumental cuts, Christopher Phillips, and Stan Whitmire.
Great to have on while: reading your advent devotions!
Gerald Wolfe has stepped into the role of primarily a musician with his group Greater Vision over the last few years, and his latest release is a beautifully arranged instrumental release celebrating the hymns of Christmas. Gerald’s stirring and gentle touch on the ivories is a must-have for this season. My favorites include “Birthday of a King,” “Away In a Manger (Mueller),” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.”
The Kramers – Christmas (StowTown Records)
For fans of: traditional family harmony, such as The Hoppers, The Whisnants, or Collingsworth Family.
Great to have on while: wrapping those last minute gifts!
The Kramers have been bursting on to the scene over the last few years, and this heavily orchestrated holiday recording should make fans of big voices family groups grin from ear to ear throughout each listen. There’s a steady stream of originals to be found here, so make sure you check out songs like “Son of David,” “All You Are,” and their cover of the now-classic Martins’ tune “Heaven’s Child.”
Selah – At This Table (3Cre8tive)
For fans of: inspirational based acts like The Martins, Sandi Patty, Joseph Habedank, and First Call.
Great to have on while: baking cookies with the family!
In a nod to traditional retailers, Selah has released their second Christmas recording (and first in 20 years) in CD-format only this year. It’s a beautifully arranged Christmas album, and it holds up well alongside the group’s now classic Rose of Bethlehem. You can still stream the debut single and title cut “At This Table,” which is a striking cover of Idina Menzel’s original from a few years ago. The full album can be purchased through the group or at traditional Christian retailers.
Chosen Road – Appalachian Christmas (Thoroughbred Records)
For fans of: bluegrass laden Gospel music and the likes of Authentic Unlimited, High Road, Carolina Blue, or Sideline.
Great to have on while: the kids are building the first snowman of the season.
Appalachian Christmas by Chosen Road is the debut release on Daywind Music Group’s newly revived bluegrass label Thoroughbred Records. Chosen Road’s stripped down arrangements and sophisticated harmonies make for a delight this season. The best songs include their cover of the Chris Tomlin hit “Noel” (featuring Guy Penrod), “A Strange Way to Save the World,” “Labor of Love” (featuring Point of Grace), and “Light of the Stable” (with Selah’s Allan Hall)
Crowder – Milk & Cookies: A Merry Crowder Christmas (sixsteprecords/Sparrow Records)
For fans of: Crowder’s eclectic mix of pop/rock as well as radio-friendly CCM favorites like MercyMe, Zach Williams, We the Kingdom, and for KING & COUNTRY.
Great to have on while: mingling at your annual Christmas get-together!
Crowder is a favorite in the CCM crowd, but his unique blend of rock, country, and bluegrass has endeared him to fans of multiple genres. Milk & Cookies is a fun holiday recording that moves between quirky and serious at break-neck speeds. “Thanks Giver” is the obvious highlight here, but other cuts like “Go Tell It On the Mountain” (featuring Ricky Skaggs), “Carol of the Bells,” and “The Elf Song” make this an unforgettable release.
Jason Crabb – Miracle In a Manger (Red Street Records)
For fans of: country and pop-laden Christmas tunes as well as the likes of Joseph Habedank, Brett Eldredge, and Gaither Vocal Band.
Great to have on while: relaxing with the family in front of a cozy fire!
Jason’s third solo Christmas outing Miracle In a Manger finds the vocal-driven artist firmly in his musical camp, delivering songs as only Crabb can. He’s got some really fun arrangements on classics like “Joy to the World,” Go Tell It On the Mountain,” and “Tennessee Christmas” (featuring label-mate Iveth Luna).
Reggie & Ladye Love Smith – That Special Time of Year (Gaither Music Group)
For fans of: duos with amazing vocals like Jim & Melissa Brady as well as artists like the Gaither Vocal Band, Charlotte Ritchie, and Selah.
Great to have on while: taking a mid-day stroll through the snow!
Fans of grown to love Reggie Smith during his tenure with the Gaither Vocal Band, and Ladye Love Smith has joined her husband on the Gaither tours as or recent. This holiday recording features mostly traditional Christmas songs sung to perfection. Reggie remains one of the industry’s most impeccable vocalists, and the duo really shines on fantastic cuts like “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “A Child, A King Medley,” and title-cut “That Special Time of Year.”
Lore Family – Christmas (Horizon Records/Crossroads Music Group)
For fans of: traditional Southern Gospel family groups like the Mylon Hayes Family, The Hyssongs, or The Perrys.
Great to have on while: cooking the Christmas dinner!
Lore Family has recently emerged as an artist to keep your eyes and ears on as they’ve endeared themselves to fans of Southern Gospel over the last few years. Christmas is another stellar recording from the upcoming-and-coming family group that features mostly original songs about the birth of our Savior. Make sure you check out the awesome arrangement on “Sing a Happy Song at Christmas,” as well as “Talkin’ ‘Bout Jesus,” and “Make Room.”
The Kingsmen – ‘Tis the Reason (Horizon Records/Crossroads Music Group)
For fans of: traditional male quartets with a slight progressive side like Triumphant Quartet, Gold City, Kingdom Heirs, or The Old Paths.
Great to have on while: opening presents on the big day!
Much like the angels declaring Christ’s entrance to the shepherds, quartet fans rejoice with this release. Though it only features three Christmas classics among the six songs on this holiday-themed EP, ‘Tis the Reason is a definite highlight this year. The quartet’s tight harmonies and great vocal arrangements enhance this EP to become one of the year’s best. You don’t want to miss songs like the stirring ballad “The God Who Gives Himself Away,” “‘Tis the Reason,” “There Is Peace,” and “The Christmas Song.”
Anne Wilson – The Manger (Sparrow Records)
For fans of: country-based Christian pop like CAIN, Katy Nicole or country crooners Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, or Lainey Wilson.
Great to have on while: driving to the Christmas Eve service!
The Manger is just an expanded version of last year’s three-song EP I Still Believe in Christmas. Anne’s striking blend of Country and pop make her a favorite among listeners across multiple genres, and the three new songs this season are a great reminder of that. “The Manger” (featuring Josh Turner) is a great original country-based tune that sits nicely alongside last year’s bluegrass-infused “Country Fried Christmas.”
Williamson Branch – Very Merry Christmas (Pinecastle Records)
For fans of: female-fronted bluegrass flavored acts like The Isaacs, High Road, Donna Ulisse, and Kristy Cox.
Great to have on while: hanging the lights on the house!
Just in time for Christmas, Pinecastle Records releases this fantastic Christmas album from the magnificent Williamson Branch. There’s a lot to like on Williamson Branch’s home-town feel. “Very Merry Christmas” is a delightful intro to this album packed-full of Christmas cheer. Also check out their rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Christmas Times a Comin’/White Christmas,” “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” and “Momma’s Christmas List.”