Ever since they began their careers around the same time, and especially after topping the charts in 1997 with “In Another’s Eyes,” one of the questions that Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have found themselves asked the most is —- “When are you going to do a duets album?” It’s never been an easy question to answer, with Brooks and Yearwood both being aligned with different labels during their solo careers, as well as Brooks’ commitment to raising his children in Oklahoma. But, now – after almost two decades since that first collaboration, the two have united their talents on an album for the first time with Christmas Together.
Though, to be honest, this is not totally a “duets” album. There are some moments where the two singers make melody together, and each also have their solo moments in the spotlight. So, let’s cover the duets first. “I’m Beginning To See The Light” has a fun and flirtatious feel, combined with a Frank Sinatra / Dean Martin feel to it. The two keep that light and easy feeling on the classic “Marshmallow World,” which is also a highlight. Then, there’s the fun and frolic of the standard “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which will no doubt please their fan following.
Brooks shines the brightest on the hilarious and cute “Ugly Christmas Sweater,” showing a little different side of the singer than we’re used to. It’s very enjoyable to hear him being romantic – but kind of a normal guy at the same time. He also surprises on the Jose Feliciano classic “Feliz Navidad,” which turns into the ultimate Christmas jam. Brooks takes a serious turn with the inspirational “Merry Christmas Means I Love You,” which SHOULD clear some of the unfortunate controversy about how some reference – or don’t reference the holiday season. The Country Music Hall of Fame member also gets to revel in the glory of a duet with one of his all-time heroes, James Taylor, with “The Thanksgiving Song (What I’m Thankful For),” a very sweet (and true) sentiment about life’s blessings.
Not to be outdone, Yearwood aims for the sky – and succeeds with the light and sassy “The Man With The Bag,” delivers a romantic nod with “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” and tips the hat to Dolly Parton with a cover of “Hard Candy Christmas.” Her vocal is nothing short of extraordinary on the song, which is a showcase for her strong and powerful vocal approach. You might see – and hear – Yearwood in a totally new light on “Santa Baby,” which is by far her most seductive performance ever. And, she pulls it off… Very well!
So, Garth and Trisha have given the fans what they have been waiting for – well, sort of. I think the success of this album will hopefully lead to a disc that combines their versions of classic duets with new songs (“Whiskey To Wine” from Garth’s upcoming solo Gunslinger disc being a fine example of what these two can do with new material). In any case, whether you are a fan of one or the other or both, this album is guaranteed to spend many a spin on your CD player or iPod….however you listen to music. It’s a great celebration of all things Christmas!