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From Idina Menzel to Earth, Wind & Fire, the season is busting out all over with new Christmas albums for your holiday-party playlist.

Flurry of New Christmas/Holiday Albums Heralds the Season

idina-menzel-holiday-wishesIt’s October, which means the record labels are busting out all over with new Christmas albums, most released this month and next. Here’s a roundup of some of this new music for your holiday-party playlist.

Idina Menzel gets a jump on the Christmas-album rush with an October 14 release of Holiday Wishes, her new Christmas album on Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff (Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey), it includes “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night,” and even Joni Mitchell’s Christmas-themed “River.” Pre-order here.

A New Orleans Creole Christmas comes courtesy of Irvin Mayfield & The New Orleans Jazz Playhouse Revue, out November 11th on Basin Street Records. The first holiday album from the trumpeter and bandleader features selections including “O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree),” “Silent Night,” “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” recorded at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

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For a different kind of sound, check out Holiday Symphony, a new Christmas album from Celtic Thunder out October 27 on Legacy Recordings. The Irish theatrical singing ensemble’s 11th album presents Christmas standards from around the world, with five Celtic Thunder male soloists performing solo and ensemble numbers backed by a 90-piece orchestra, including “Away in A Manger,” “Come All Ye Faithful,” “Fairytale of New York,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Pre-order here.

Legacy is also offering Earth, Wind & Fire’s Holiday, the legendary group’s first-ever holiday album, produced by Philip Bailey and Myron McKinley and featuring “seasonal standards, traditional carols and future holiday classics” including “Joy to the World,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Pre-order here.

darius-rucker-home-for-the-holidaysCapitol Records will release Darius Rucker‘s first Christmas album, Home for the Holidays, on October 27. The country star and former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman sings 10 holidays classics, including “Winter Wonderland,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and “White Christmas,” plus two originals. Sheryl Crow joins him on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Pre-order here.

New West Records gets into the holiday spirit with An Americana Christmas featuring Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Dwight Yoakam, John Prine, The Band, Emmylou Harris, Old 97’s, Robert Ellis, Nikki Lane and more, out on CD, vinyl and digital October 14. Most selections are previously recorded classics, with a few new recordings, including Ellis’s rendition of Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” which premiered at Rollingstone.com. Pre-order here.

Grammy Award winner Anthony Hamilton will release his first Christmas album on October 21. Home for the Holidays‘ 14 tracks include six originals, production by The Avila Brothers among others, and guest appearances from Chaka Khan, Gavin DeGraw, and ZZ Ward. In addition to his four studio albums, Hamilton won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance in 2009 for his collaboration with Al Green on the song “You’ve Got The Love I Need.” Pre-order here.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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