It’s that time of year again - holiday music is in full swing, whether it be in malls, shops, radio stations, elevators, and many other spots in between. Canada has put forth a plethora of marvelous musicians and amazing artists throughout the years (far too many to list here but trust us, Canadian music is alive and well) and our musicians have created many a Christmas album.
We’ve compiled six great albums (in alphabetical order, we don’t play favourites here) to help make this season musically festive for you and yours!
1. Anne Murray: All 7 of her Christmas albums
Our nation’s beloved songstress Anne Murray certainly has a fondness for Christmas. So much so that she’s released seven albums worth out of the 32 she released in her career! Her 1981 10-track debut Christmas album “Christmas Wishes” was a huge hit and sold nearly 2.25 million copies, so we advise you start with that one and work your way through the other six (all quite good) albums. Anne’s adult contemporary style is a sound option to fill your house, car, or headphones as you battle the crowds this (and/or every) holiday season.
2. Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked for the Holidays
Released in 2004, one of Canada’s favourite bands presents both traditional holiday songs and also winter based songs. Through the 21 tracks, the laid back squad from Scarborough throw in some chuckle-worthy lines including “jingle bells, batman smells” and “Happy Birthday Jesus.” Even though the original lineup is no more, this album smartly balances between traditional and modern and is one of our favourites at the Modern Mississauga office.
3. Blue Rodeo: A Merrie Christmas to You
If you’re looking for something upbeat, Jim Cuddy and Co. have you covered with their modern Christmas album, released in 2014. The 10 song collection features two original tunes that’ll have your toes tapping in the house and will channel your inner steering-wheel drummer. The folk-rock group spruced up traditional tunes and put their rootsy and energetic feel into these songs…full marks to them for putting excitement into Christmas tunes.
4. Michael Bublé: Christmas
Our Canadian crooner’s Juno award winning, best-selling album of his career is kinda like City TV: It’s everywhere! This 16 song collection features a couple of original tunes sprinkled in with the classics, providing an easy-to-listen-to vibe. Let Bublé’s velvety smooth voice calm your holiday nerves as you circle Square One endlessly looking for a parking spot, or even as pleasant background music at parties. You’ll probably hear him in any store you visit this season.
5. Diana Krall: Christmas Songs // Oscar Peterson: An Oscar Peterson Christmas
I simply had to include both of these for risk of having one left off. Released in 2005 and 1995 respectively, these two Canadian jazz giants offer up 26 ear pleasing Christmas melodies in these two different albums. These are two of my favourite holiday albums and they see heavy rotation in my house, car, and headphones. They make for a smooth soundtrack as you’re wrapping gifts, entertaining, or sipping on eggnog by your real or plug-in fireplace.
6. Various Artists: A Canadian Christmas (Volumes 1 to 5)
A five album series starting in 2004 and the current fifth album released in 2012, there’s an all-star roster here churning out Christmas and holiday tunes in a variety of genres,j including pop, rock, jazz, country, folk and others. From Stompin’ Tom Connors to Bryan Adams to Carly Rae Jepsen, these albums are the patriotic buffet of seasonal tunes.
Our first honourble mention is full of Canadian stereotypes and humor about toques, back bacon and beer and is known far and wide across the Great White North. Kudos, eh, to Bob and Doug McKenzie for their hilarious take on the 12 Days of Christmas.
Other special mentions go to Sarah McLachlan for her tranquil “Wintersongs” album, and to one of my favourite Canadians (and a personal inspiration on guitar), Colin James and his Little Big Band’s jumping and jiving festive album, “Christmas,” which is full of sweet, swinging holiday songs.
We’d love to hear what your favourite Canadian Christmas/Holiday songs are.
Tell us on our Facebook page!