New Christmas single from Irene Kelley

Well folks… it’s that time of year again.

There’s a nip in the air, the leaves are mostly down, and the annual battle over when it’s OK to talk about Christmas music has begun. The camps seem to line up along two irreconcilable fronts: one believes that it’s never too early to start with the holly and candles, while the other has a definite “not until after Thanksgiving” credo. Armed with the first are The Hallmark Channel, mall retailers, and catalog mailers. The holdouts on the other side can become downright Scroogelike should they encounter carols in mid-November, or see posters up downtown.

Then there’s folks like me who grew up with a Christmas season that runs from December 24 to January 6. We’re Switzerland in this dispute, and just go on about our business, smiling and nodding when the inevitable conversation ensues.

Here at Bluegrass Today we’re torn between letting everyone know about new holiday bluegrass releases in time to order them as gifts, or simply have them available in your homes for when you think it’s time, and retaining the traditional limits on over commercializing the season which is, after all, a religious holiday (holy day) at root.

So… it is with some trepidation that we begin our annual coverage of new Christmas releases (and shows) for the 2018 holiday season. Over the next few weeks we have a number of new recordings to share, some one-shot singles, and some full EPs or CDs. Most are clearly bluegrass projects, while others are seasonal music records from bluegrass artists.

We’ve added a new category to our taxonomy this year specifically for Christmas Music. If you refuse to recognize it so early in the month, just save this link and come check it when the time is right. Volia!

To start off our 2018 Christmas Parade, here is one from Irene Kelley, called Happy Birthday Little Baby Jesus. It’s a traditional-sounding carol, with a bit of a Celtic flair, which combines the religious relevance of the coming celebration with the warmth of home and family that so many of us associate with the holiday.

Kelley wrote it with Lisa Aschmann, and recorded it earlier this year along with the tracks for her upcoming Mountain Fever album coming next year. A happy, joyous song, it may even wear down the resistance of a few of the naysayers.

The single will be available to consumers tomorrow, November 6, from all the popular online sites. Radio programmers can get it now from AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.