Jingle All the Way (Rounder)
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
Jazz-bluegrass virtuosos Béla Fleck & The Flecktones enlist Tuvan throat singers on "Jingle Bells," cover the Peanuts
piano rag "Linus and Lucy," and make both Bach and Joni Mitchell's "River" sound brand new.
A New Thought for Christmas (Island)
Melissa Etheridge serves up a high-energy holiday tonic on A New Thought for Christmas
, mixing classics ("Merry Christmas Baby") with peace-promoting originals ("Light a Light").
The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials 1976–1979 (Shout! Factory)
Johnny Cash and friends
Though Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Steve Martin all appear on The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials
, a four-DVD set, the Man in Black gets his most memorable assist from his six daughters on a rendition of "Silent Night."
A Swingin' Christmas (Sony BMG)
With sad-eyed élan, Tony Bennett croons a bittersweet group of holiday standards ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "All I Want for Christmas Is You") on A Swingin' Christmas
, backed by the Count Basie Big Band.
This Christmas Aretha (DMI)
Aretha Franklin nails a few carols and belts out "Ave Maria" on This Christmas Aretha
(DMI), but it's the gospel passion she brings to Thomas A. Dorsey's "The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow" that turns her first holiday album into a keeper.