december 2009

Deana Carter
Released: 2001

Christmas albums don't get much more ingratiating—or much better—than Deana Carter's Father Christmas. Recorded at the multi-platinum artist's family home, with only her father accompanying her on guitar, this intimate, all-acoustic affair captures the season in all its dimensions—joyful ("Winter Wonderland," complete with an impromptu jazzy coda), melancholy ("Blue Christmas," evoking favorable comparisons to Elvis's definitive version), tender and reflective ("Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "The Christmas Song") and reverential ("Silent Night"). Her father, by the by, happens to be Nashville super-picker Fred Carter, Jr., whose work in and out of country music (he's accompanied the likes of Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Neil Young, among others, in addition to a Who's Who of mainstream country artists) is highly regarded for its economy and soulfulness. That's what he brings to this party, adding tasteful solo fills and engaging rhythm accompaniment with a master's elegant touch. His daughter does her part by singing with such deep conviction and sheer love for the material as to reinvigorate the classic tune stack. Carter's smoky timbre and blues-inflected phrasings have never been more alluring: she sounds waif-like and innocent on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "White Christmas," sultry and longing on "Blue Christmas," flirtatious and bubbly on "Let It Snow." An interview conducted by young Deana with her father for an elementary school project serves as a delightful, album-ending, hidden-track bonus. Truly, Father Christmas is a gift that keeps on giving. — David McGee

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024