Chris Isaak doesn’t just dabble in holiday music. He grew up in Stockton, in Central California’s Valley, where he played Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Vince Guaraldi, Gene Autrey’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” and Roy Orbison’s version of Willie Nelson’s song “Pretty Paper.” . Those influences are reflected in his latest album. Everybody Knows It’s Christmaswas released on October 14 by Sun Label Group.
“No matter what I listened to as a kid, I think it’s in my head. It’s really Christmas, because you can never beat that excitement,” the singer said of Billboard’s setlist. Tells the podcast behind it.
Everybody Knows It’s Christmas is Isaak’s second studio album of holiday music.first since 2004 ChristmasIsaac wears a red custom suit and sings Christmas music and his 1991 Hot 100 No. 6 hit “Wicked Game” and his 1995 album forever blue“I’m not good at dating, but it’s been a while,” Isaak jokes about his holiday tour. “I’m wearing a second or third red suit.”
Isaak lives up to its beloved holiday standards. His cover of Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph” (titled “Run Rudolph Run” on the album) remains true to his version of the original hard rock. His take on the otherwise bright “Winter Wonderland” creates a slow, shimmering ode to winter romance. The album concludes with the moving “Oh Holy Night”, suggested by the album’s producer, Dave Cobb, who worked with Isaac at his RCA studio in Nashville.
However, Isaac broke with the tradition of covering other people’s holiday songs and wrote eight of the album’s thirteen tracks. “When writing [holiday songs] I’m thinking — now this doesn’t sound like me, but it’s me — I’m actually imagining my family sitting around listening to things. I would appreciate it if you could get it. And enough bright energy that they can put it in the background while they eat dinner and they can have their argument at the table and say ‘Turn up the music’ is.
Isaak’s sense of humor is on display on one of the album’s standout tracks, “Help Me, Baby Jesus.” Everybody Knows It’s ChristmasIn the song, a thief escapes with a camera, three wise men, Mary in the manger, a floodlight and an extension cord. “Where I grew up, everyone stole everything from your front yard,” he explains. “People had to watch over the baby Jesus.
“That song is not going to be a hit,” continues Isaac. “But somebody in America has a nativity scene stolen, and his friends will say, ‘Hey, I have a song for you.'”
Listen to the full conversation with Chris Isaak on the Behind the Setlist podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart, Stitcher, Amazon Music and Audible.