Carrie Underwood

The holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year. The decorations, delicious smelling treats and unbeatable classic hits are looked forward to all year long. With the chaotic year that’s been 2020, the world is in dire need of some Christmas cheer, even if it is only September.

Thanks to country queen Carrie Underwood, Christmas has come a little early this year. Her first-ever holiday album, “My Gift,” released on Sept. 25. The 11-track album includes both Christmas classics and a couple original songs, “Let There be Peace” and “Sweet Baby Jesus,” and features an adorable pair of guest artists.

Making his musical debut, Underwood's 5-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, joined his mother on the album to sing the classic hit “Little Drummer Boy.” Underwood starts the song with the first verse before the beating drums introduce Fisher like a drum roll to the sweet little voice that follows. 

“[Isaiah] loves to sing. He loves music,” Underwood said in an interview with the Associated Press. “He went in and he did such a great job. He was throwing his hands up in the air and was so excited and had all these cute 5-year-old emotions just pouring out of him.”

And boy, does Isaiah’s excitement come through in his song. His charisma and excitement pour through as he passionately tackles those “ba rum pum pum pums,” encapsulating the raw joy of a child at Christmastime.

Joining the short list of guests on the album, John Legend joins Underwood for the song he co-wrote with Toby Gad, “Hallelujah.” The ballad is flooded with impressive vocals from both Underwood and Legend combined, creating a powerful duet that Underwood calls the missing “puzzle piece” to the album.

“I was deep into making the album, and this one kind of came in. [Legend] sent it to us kind of at the end," Underwood said during a recent episode of Today's Country Radio With Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country. “It was like, 'Well, I love the song. I feel like this is a puzzle piece I didn't know was missing, but now that I've heard it, I have to have it.”

Another gorgeous ballad on the album is Underwood’s original song “Sweet Baby Jesus.” Underwood's iconic voice and the soft picking of the guitar in the background give the song a country flair, staying true to Underwood’s traditional sound. Lyrically, the song is expertly crafted with a Christmas message that could pass as an everyday country song. 

While it is a holiday album, Underwood did a superb job of producing an album that kept the Christmas spirit while not being overly festive for its September release. Additionally, the album isn’t just a remake of every other holiday album. Underwood added original material as well as a touch of country to each song.

Despite the challenging year we have faced, Underwood is keeping a positive mindset as she releases this album with the most wonderful time of the year upon us. The album provides just the right amount of Christmas and country to get those visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads before the true holiday season begins.

culture@dailynebraskan.com