What better way to begin a Christmas album than with the old Tex Logan tune, Christmas Time’s a Coming? If you ask Ricky Skaggs, you’ll probably find out quickly that there is none, as it’s the first track on a recent release by Skaggs Family Records. On this project, A Skaggs Family Christmas: Volume 2, Ricky is joined by The Whites and several members of his family to create a 10 song album of great holiday music.
The first Christmas album from Skaggs and Company, entitled A Skaggs Family Christmas: Volume 1, came out in 2005, and included thirteen songs ranging in scope from Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow to other popular tunes like Deck the Halls.
Now, with the release of their latest seasonal creation, Volume 2, they have put their spin on even more Christmas-related material. With this new project, The Skaggs Family has continued to bring the Yuletide cheer with another collection of both new and previously recorded material. However, this album comes with an added bonus, as a companion DVD is conveniently packaged alongside the audio CD within a Digipak format. Songs the Skaggs family has chosen for Volume 2 include newer pieces like What Songs Were Sung, alongside several classic sing-along tunes like Silent Night, Joy to the World, and The First Noel. There’s no need to worry about forgetting the lyrics to these tunes at a family singalong, as they’re included in the CD booklet!
The use of varied instrumentation throughout this set makes it unique: a string section, piano, percussion and Ricky’s regular band, Kentucky Thunder are all featured. The DVD is particularly interesting as it is of the utmost quality, and includes 26 tracks featuring the Skaggs family Christmas show with which they have been touring for eight years.
Comments like: “You can teach your kids how to count on this song” (in reference to traditional tune Children Go) and humorous stories throughout the DVD while performing song introductions allow the listener to draw closer to this family of performers covering three generations. Other remarks like “you might need to readjust your laundry” are also hilarious as the family invites the crowd at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN to join them on Joy to the World as the concert closes.
Some instrumental tracks like Deck the Halls are arranged with a more traditional bluegrass feel, while other pieces, such as Luke Skaggs’ original instrumental Flight to Egypt, incorporate the Nashville Strings and percussion, and display complex musicianship throughout. This album is a great addition to any Christmas music collection and is sure to get listeners in the Christmas spirit no matter what time of year.
For a list of Christmas performance dates and other information regarding the music of the Skaggs family, such as RFD-TV show times for their live Christmas show experience, visit them online.