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Various Artists

Hear Something Country Christmas – 2007 (BNA Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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There's no mystery behind the creation of Hear Something Country. Just take country music's biggest names, give most of 'em familiar songs to sing, then wrap it all up with a festive red bow. Six of the 14 songs were previously unreleased.

Do you hear what I hear, Christmas favorites done country style? Sara Evans saturates her newly released version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" in sad yearning, while Brad Paisley spikes "Winter Wonderland" with his sharp guitar work. Everybody knows "Jingle Bells," but Kenny Chesney's tropical arrangement gives it a new twist.

Kellie Pickler gets sexy with "Santa Baby," although nobody should ever really try to compete with Eartha Kitt's definitive version. Johnny Cash's "Silent Night" is a sad reminder that one of country music's greatest voices has been silenced forever. Some of these artists also sing their own songs. Alan Jackson prays for peace on earth with "Let It Be Christmas" and Phil Vassar sings about night before Christmas whoopee on "Let's Make A Little Christmas Tonight". Then there's Montgomery Gentry's contribution, a cover of Robert Earl Keen's alcohol and tobacco-fueled "Merry Christmas from the Family." Surprisingly, this usually squeaky clean duo gets Keen's white trash holiday hangover right.

Similarly, the rest of this collection mostly does Christmas right.