Various Artists

A Country Christmas [Empire]

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Country Christmas delivers quite a hefty load of Christmas classics by a number of country artists, many of whom are rather well-known. First of all, it's a double-disc album, featuring a whopping total of 30 songs. Most of the longtime favorites are here like "Deck the Halls," "Joy to the World," "Jingle Bells," and so on. Plus, there's some more lighthearted fare like the Merle Haggard-penned "Santa Claus and Popcorn." Secondly, there's no shortage of talent on this album with such genre titans as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, and Boxcar Willie showing up, most contributing multiple songs (Nelson contributes the most, offering a total of five performances). Highlights include Nelson's album-opening "Silent Night," Greenwood's take on "The 12 Days of Christmas," and Nelson's album-closing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." So given the large quantity of songs here and the impressive roster of performers, Country Christmas very well could cover all your holiday needs. There's no shortage of festive mood here and definitely no shortage of well-performed Christmas favorites.

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