White Christmas Blue

by: Loretta Lynn

Recorded during the same extensive sessions with Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash that produced 2016's Full Circle, 2016's White Christmas Blue shares many aesthetic similarities with its predecessor. Spare and simple without being Spartan, White Christmas Blue is rather stark for a holiday album and that's its charm: it's not quite rustic, yet it's down-home and proudly part of country tradition. To that end, White Christmas Blue contains a pair of songs from A Country Christmas, the holiday album she released in 1966. "Country Christmas" and "To Heck with Ole Santa Claus" sit nicely alongside a set of familiar carols and secular seasonal songs -- not to mention the title track, which is a perfectly fine new original tune -- and the cumulative effect is cozy and comforting, a record that could easily be played around the fireplace every holiday season. On top of that, White Christmas Blue showcases Lynn's enduring skills in a somewhat more appealing fashion than Full Circle. Where that album was deliberately designed to encompass the run of Lynn's life, the modest ambitions of a Christmas album reveal how assured Lynn remains as a singer and how Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash surround her with a band that's sympathetic and never affected, ingredients that result in a pleasing album regardless of the season. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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