National Media Services, the full-service studio and disc replication facility in Northern Virginia, has a tradition they follow every year. They choose a band or artist from among their list of loyal customers, and invite them in record a Christmas-themed album during the summer. Then come the fall, NMS sends out 10,000 copies of the album to their complete client list, and media people in the US and Canada, to help promote their short-run specialty facilities.
Given their “one-stop shop” concept, where a band can come in to record a project and get CD artwork and manufacturing handled in house, National Media Services has a built-in appeal to bluegrass artists. A great many have chosen to work with the company, who offer competitive pricing on CD or DVD runs as small as 300 units.
And the company has returned the favor in choosing bluegrass acts to be featured on the Christmas album the past few years. Trinity River Band and Bud’s Collective have appeared this last two years, and it has now been announced that the 2016 project will be recorded by Circa Blue, with special guest Dawn Kenney. They are all in the studio up in Front Royal now getting in the holiday spirit ahead of a release at the first of October.
The Christmas record is a great deal for the selected artists, as all the studio time is offered free of charge, the finished disc is distributed far and wide, and they also have the opportunity to purchase CDs to sell at their shows.
Circa Blue has chosen songs from the catalog of traditional Christmas favorites, plus new compositions from within the band, and popular songwriters Dawn Kenney, David Morris, Brink Brinkmann, Paula Breedlove, and others. Kenny will be the guest vocalist on several tracks, and she and the band are planning a brief holiday tour this year in the northeastern US.
Look for the Circa Blue with Dawn Kenney Christmas CD to be released during the IBMA World of Bluegrass convention this year.