Sheryl Crow

Home for Christmas

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Originally released as a Hallmark exclusive for the holiday season of 2008, Home for Christmas was expanded by a single cut for its exclusive 2010 for Target: “Long Road Home,” taken from Sheryl Crow’s fine 2010 tribute to Southern soul, 100 Miles from Memphis. This may be a secular tune, but it fits snugly next to the rest of Home for Christmas, as that holiday record was designed as a slow, soulful stroll through seasonal classics, Crow turning in excellent versions of tunes as diverse as “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Crow doesn’t necessarily reinvent these songs -- “Merry Christmas Baby” is taken at a slightly faster gait than usual, “White Christmas” grooves like classic Stax -- but she does inhabit them and her band is tight and dexterous, giving this Christmas album some unexpected and welcome soul. It’s a good enough holiday album that it shouldn’t be thought of as a thrown-off exclusive: it’s one of the better pop Christmas records of the last half of the 2000s.

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