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The Robertsons

Duck the Halls - A Robertson Family Christmas – 2013 (Universal Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by The Robertsons

The potential for disaster is great when you consider the prospect of a Christmas album based around a Southern redneck reality show. And yes, The Robertsons' new holiday release does start off with one called Ragin' Cajun Redneck Christmas. But that song, and the album as a whole, is not nearly as bad as some might have expected. The Robertsons actually sing fairly well, and the Southern backwards-isms are mostly kept to a minimum.

Missy Robertson turns in a lovely version of I'll Be Home for Christmas, a duet with Jase Robertson for Baby, It's Cold Outside and - best of all - trading lines with Josh Turner during Why I Love Christmas, a song Turner also wrote. You also can't go wrong when you feature Alison Krauss for Away in a Manger or George Strait on Christmas Cookies, which swings nicely. With guest artists like these, this may be one of the most traditional country Christmas albums you'll hear all year. Sometimes the best gifts come from the most unusual places.

The album closes with a spoken word prayer and benediction, which ends the festivities on a distinctly spiritual note. Some probably were bracing themselves for the worst when considering "Duck the Halls." Nevertheless, this one might just end up being a pleasant surprise.