Country music’s super couple offer up duets and solo performances on this endearing yuletide collection. The famed duo blend together in perfect unison on “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and “Marshmallow World.” Brooks shines as he solos on “Ugly Christmas Sweater” and “Merry Christmas Means I Love You,” while Yearwood contributes playful renderings of “The Man with the Bag,” “Santa Baby,” along with a stunning version of “Hard Candy Christmas.” The only downside to this joyful holiday present is that it ends faster than Christmas day. The set’s total running time is a mere Grinch-sized serving of 27 minutes and 57 seconds, but it’s brevity is guaranteed to leave you hankering for second helpings.
Grammy-winning country vocalist Trisha Yearwood will star as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in The Passion: New Orleans, a new modern-day adaptation depicting the life story of Jesus of Nazareth. The 2-hour live musical event airs on Palm Sunday, March 20 on the Fox network at 8 p.m. Eastern and 7 p.m. Central. The one-time only special will be hosted and narrated by Tyler Perry and also stars Seal as Pontius Pilate, Chris Daughtry as Judas, Jencarlos Canela as Jesus Christ and features Yolanda Adams, Prince Royce and Michael W. Smith.
The show’s companion soundtrack recording features five tracks by Yearwood, including contemporary versions of Whitney Houston’s “My Love is Your Love,” Jewel’s “Hands,” Lifehouse’s “Broken,” Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Yearwood is currently in the midst of a massive world tour with her country superstar husband Garth Brooks. Additionally, Yearwood has published three best-selling cookbooks and hosts her own television series, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, which premiered on the Food Network in 2012 and is currently airing its seventh season.
Listen to “Broken” below:
Don Henley: Cass County
Don Henley has returned with Cass County, his first album in 15 years. The legendary founding member of the Eagles recently delivered his fifth studio effort after a lengthy absence from his solo career. Titled after the Linden, Texas county of his childhood homestead, the revered country-rock icon charmingly duets with Dolly Parton (“When I Stop Dreaming”), Merle Haggard (“The Cost of Living”), and Martina McBride (“That Old Flame”), without sounding forced or contrived. Predominantly recorded in Nashville and Dallas over a 7-year span, Cass County leans decidedly more towards country than rock while featuring stellar guest appearances by Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Jamey Johnson, as well as recurrent collaborators Trisha Yearwood and Stevie Nicks.
“The majority [of the album] was done right here in Nashville and I can truthfully say that I enjoyed making this record more than any record I’ve made in my career,” Henley recently boasted.
An exquisite cover of Tift Merritt’s “Bramble Rose,” featuring the unlikely pairing of Miranda Lambert and Mick Jagger, sets the tone for this country-pop flavored collection. Henley’s instantly recognizable voice is a bit more seasoned, but the 68-year-old rock star sounds as if he was born to perform this new material. After all, Cass County isn’t too far a leap from his tenure with the Eagles nor his own solo work, wherein Henley has recurrently and effectively blurred the lines of pop, rock, and country throughout his five decade career.
Other album highlights include the sardonic “No Thank You,” the woeful “Waiting Tables,” and the alluring “Take a Picture of This,” all of which are greatly stamped with Henley’s distinctive vocal style and songwriting acumen. However, it can’t go without pointing out the atrocity of relegating “It Doesn’t Matter To The Sun” (featuring Stevie Nicks) to bonus track status (available exclusively on Target’s deluxe edition), as this poignant duet definitely deserves its place among the album’s proper track list. This glaringly obvious oversight, plus Henley’s cover of Jackson Browne’s “Here Come Those Tears Again,” make it all the more prudent to obtain a physical copy of the aforementioned 18 track disc.
Despite the lengthy time period since Henley’s previous solo set, 2000’s Inside Job, Cass County managed to sell an impressive 87,000 copies in its first week of release, as well as landing atop Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart, making this his first number one solo LP.