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Bring in holiday cheer with Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, more | Lifestyles



“It’s Christmas, baby, thank God we made it,” lead singer and creative force M.C. Taylor sings dolefully on “Hung Fire,” one of several sublimely spiritual new compositions that could find their way into holiday rotation for years to come.

The album’s style is soulful, even majestic, on original Taylor compositions, surprising covers and holiday classics that only gain in stature by being re-worked in the band’s laid-back Americana style.

Ultimately, an excellent band that just keeps getting better is a perfect match for a holiday season that comes upon us in less than perfect times.

Amanda Shires, “For Christmas” (Thirty Tigers)

Singer-songwriter Amanda Shires’ Christmas list includes beach vacations, a boat, cold hard cash and a date with comedian Larry David, but she’s not sharing her presents, so take a hike. Those are the sort of weirdly wonderful sentiments that appear on Shires’ holiday record, “For Christmas,” a collection of mostly original songs that feel a bit like a Christmas Eve fever dream.

With her high warbling vocals and her poetic lyrics over pianos, Shires wanders through the holidays with an eye on the little details. She’s gussying up that pine tree on “A Real Tree This Year,” and detailing a sexy holiday tryst on “Blame It on the Mistletoe.”



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