Christmas time's a-coming, and holiday music fans will find a special treat when A Skaggs Family Christmas Volume Two hits stores nationwide on September 27. The new disc comes with a bonus DVD filled with 26 performances of traditional seasonal favorites and new compositions that are sure to become holiday treasures.
For Skaggs, a 14-time Grammy winner, the Family Christmas projects are a true labor of love. "We released Volume One back in 2005 because our fans asked us for it," Ricky recalls. "We didn’t know if we’d ever do another one, but we've been hearing from our fans and they're ready for more Christmas songs, so here's Volume Two. It was a joy to create and we're excited to share it." Ricky, his wife Sharon and their children (Luke and Molly) are joined by Buck and Cheryl White, and Cheryl's daughter, Rachel Leftwich, part of the Skaggs' extended family and members of a celebrated musical clan in their own right. Also featured are world-renowned Kentucky Thunder and The Nashville Strings.
The 10-song CD features both studio and live recordings, and the disc kicks off with the upbeat bluegrass arrangement of "Christmas Time’s A Coming,” which segues smoothly to showcase Sharon White Skaggs and her sister, Cheryl, trading lead vocals on the bright, acoustic, "Light of the Stable." An a capella version of "The First Noel” finds Ricky singing lead, while the signature vocals of the White sisters excel on the high and low harmonies. Heavenly voices rise in praise on the classic seasonal favorite, “Silent Night,” which also features a poignant mandolin and soaring strings. Molly Skaggs shines on “What Songs Were Sung,” proving she's more than worthy to carry on the families' traditions, while brother Luke burns up the fret on his own composition, the intricate instrumental, "Flight To Egypt." The modern "Reunion Song" featuresa deceptively-simple sing-along melody, and Ricky not only triumphs on the lead vocal, but also plays Guitars, Mandolin, Gut String Solo and Dan Electro. Skaggs' lightning-fast finger pickin' guitar lick jump-starts "Children Go" and the vocal interplay between the family members (Ricky, Buck, Sharon and Cheryl) should leave listeners breathless. A haunting, original arrangement and expressive vocals by Luke, Molly and Rachel highlight "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel,"and the disc closes with a classical instrumental interpretation of "Joy To The World."
As a bonus, A Skaggs Family Christmas Live (DVD) is included with the purchase of the CD. The DVD features the family’s heartwarming holiday concert, recorded live in Nashville at the historic Ryman Auditorium. The three generations have taken this special show on the road for the last eight years, and the tradition continues this year, with thetroupe performing at a variety of venues throughout the holiday season, including:
11/28/11 Brooks Ctr. for the Perf. Arts / Clemson, SC
11/30/11 The Paramount Theater / Charlottesville, VA
12/01/11 Music Center at Strathmore / N. Bethesda, MD
12/02/11 Tennessee Theatre / Knoxville, TN
12/10/11 Honeywell Center / Wabash, IN
12/11/11 Niswonger PAC of NW Ohio / Van Wert, OH
12/17/11 Smokey Mtn. Performing Arts Center / Franklin, NC
12/22/11 Schermerhorn Symphony Center / Nashville, TN
"We started singing these songs in our living room all those years ago, with no idea that we would ever take A Skaggs Family Christmas to so many places," explains Sharon. "We've performed everywhere from churches to symphony halls to the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington D.C., where we sang for President George W. Bush. The recording process, the performing and traveling has been so much fun! It has been such a blessing to share all of this as a family."
Explore the history of the Skaggs Family and more at www.skaggsfamilyrecords.com.