Personnel: Sammy Kershaw (background vocals); Gary McGuire (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Joe Caverlee (fiddle); Steve Farmer (piano); Steve Larson (drums); Butch Carr (percussion, background vocals); Melanie Cannon, Garnett Bowman, John Wesley Ryles (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Butch Carr.
Recording information: 2801 Studios; LA 1 Studios; Sound Emporium Studios; The Love Shack Studios.
A mere 18 years after his first holiday album, Sammy Kershaw returned in 2012 with A Sammy Klaus Christmas, a lively little Christmas record that finds the country singer in good cheer. He stumbles only twice on this tight 12-track album: he opens the album with a recital of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," three minutes of spoken word that threaten to derail the album before it starts (at its conclusion he offers a "Cajun" night before Christmas, an idea that's more clever in theory than in practice), and he covers "The Twelve Days of Christmas," a tune so plodding that no amount of effort can keep it engaging. But these are small bumps on a ride that's otherwise very engaging. Kershaw keeps things simple -- this is clean, lively traditional country, sometimes dressed in a lot of sleigh bells -- but he sounds like he's having a whale of a time singing these songs of good cheer and, consequently, it's hard not to have a good time while listening to A Sammy Klaus Christmas. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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