It wouldn’t be so wrong to say that 2020 has felt like one of the longest years ever. Thankfully the holiday season is upon us and that means that 2020 will be coming to an official end. While celebrating the rest of the year is questionable, it would be wrong to ignore some of the great music that was released this year. Canadian Beats has comprised a list of our favorite holiday-inspired releases of 2020 which are sure to put you in the spirit of the season and let you enjoy the remainder of a hectic and stressful year. Here is Part Two of our 2020 holiday music favorites.
Max Parker has gifted us this year with a fresh take on the Queen classic, “Thank God It’s Christmas.” Speaking on the new version, Parker says; “When I decided to cover a Christmas song for 2020, I listened to classic holiday tunes, and versions of songs from the 80s and 90s, to choose the right feel that I was going for. The words had to be meaningful, as well as the composition. When I heard Queen’s ‘Thank God It’s Christmas,’ it was a slam-dunk confirmation that this was the one I wanted to cover. This year continues to be super tough for everyone, and the message in this song really speaks to the sorrow and grief of loss, of searching for meaning, and of offering hope. I want to offer a sign of redemption using all my heart, soul, and guts of my voice and guitar, and this song helps me to express what I believe many people are feeling.” You can check out Parker’s version of “Thank God It’s Christmas” for yourself right here.
Ludic, the Vancouver-based trio was excited to release their first Christmas single “Jingle Bells.” The song showcases the band as the multi-instrumentalists they are, taking a very Ludic spin on a very classic Christmas song. Ludic is comprised of Ayla Tesler-Mabe and brothers Max and Rhett Cunningham. The trio describes themselves as SOULFUNKJAZZPOP or Alien Motown. The band is hard at work on a brand new EP to be released in 2021. You can check out the trio’s version of “Jingle Bells” on Spotify or Apple Music.
Command Sisters have shared their new holiday-inspired single “Steal Your Heart.” Written by real-life sisters Charlotte and Sarah Command, and produced by Marty Martino, “Steal Your Heart” hooks listeners right from the top, drawing them into a seductive and mysterious storyline. With lyrics like, “The Grinch, he already stole Christmas, Now I’m gonna go steal your heart,” it can’t be denied that the Command Sisters have made their mark on holiday music, all in signature Command style. Listen to “Steal Your Heart” here.
Kamakazi is back to crash your upcoming holiday celebrations with A More Angry than Naughty Kamakazi Christmas. The trio from Montreal have already released four Christmas EPs filled with raunchy lyrics and wrapped up in flawless pop-punk arrangements over the years. This 5th EP is once again not your regular ol’ Christmas carol and after the year we’ve all had, it’s the perfect way to give the finger to 2020 and welcome a better new year. Check out the fun new EP, A More Angry than Naughty Kamakazi Christmas right here.
BROS, the vintage rock duo comprised of Ewan and Shamus Currie, frontman and keyboardist for platinum-selling Canadian band The Sheepdogs have released A Very Bros Christmas Vol. 2. The new EP is their festive follow-up to 2017’s A Very Bros Christmas Vol. 1. The EP is now available via Dine Alone Records. Says Ewan about the festive EP, “Now more than ever people need a little Christmas cheer in their life, so we decided to make our second foray into the world of original Christmas music. It’s been a tough year so we decided to lean into the party side of the season. Merry Christmas!” Check out the new EP, A Very Bros Christmas Vol. 2 right here.
Ellen Doty has released a very special holiday single featuring fellow Albertan artist Wyatt C. Louis, “Mittens.” Each year, Doty collaborates with an Alberta based artist, and Monogram Coffee roasts a coffee blend named after the song. We then donate $5 from each bag of coffee sold to a charity and the bags also come with a free download of the song. This year, Doty wrote the new tune titled “Mittens” with Calgary-based singer-songwriter, Louis. The duo’s charity recipient this year is The Mustard Seed. Check out the very special song “Mittens” right here.
Owen Barney has released his own version of “Last Christmas.” The country music newcomer has put his own twist on the Wham! classic that has become a holiday favorite. “Last Christmas” available everywhere, and you can check it out on Spotify or Apple Music.
Classified has released the brand new single, “The Bells Are Ringing.” The award-winning hip hop artist explains about the new song; “Been dropping a lot of music this year, trying to continue giving you guys something to keep your mind off what’s been going on this year, and even more so, to keep myself busy and keep my mind off of what’s going on. I just have to stay working. Made this beat a few weeks ago and it reminded me of Christmas. I always wanted to do a Christmas song… and shit… it’s 2020… why not do a Christmas song during one of the toughest years I can remember. Made the beat and wrote the hallelujah part November 8th, wrote my verses November 9th. and on November 10th, I recorded it. O Sound came through and beefed up the choir vibe on the hallelujah part and I got about 8 chorus idea’s from Breagh Isabel. Chopped up the one I liked and mixed it the next day to get it done in time to release today! Hope you guys like it and I hope it brings that Christmas spirit out!” Check out “The Bells Are Ringing” here.
Kandle has released a brand new original holiday song, “Christmas Mourn.” Explaining where the new song came from Kandle says, “I wrote Christmas Mourn with my pal Debra-Jean Creelman (founding member of Mother Mother) over a couple of zoom dates in November and we tracked it with one mic in the living room with sleigh bells (surprisingly hard to play) and a couple glasses of wine. We reconnected earlier this year when she, (along with Kendel Carson and Louise Burns), came into the studio to do a whirlwind day of backing vocal arranging/recording for my new record. It was a magical day. Since then, it’s become quickly apparent that we share eerily similar sensibilities, that include a love for quintessential Christmas ballads by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley etc. The only thing that can help folks like us to deal with the loneliness of a COVID Christmas, is to attempt to write our very own Christmas Classic.” You can check out “Christmas Mourn” for yourself and have a listen here.
Christina Martin has released her newest holiday single, “Kisses for Christmas.” The new holiday song is available now! Following Martin’s 2018 hit holiday tune “This Christmas” (which has 750,000 streams on Spotify alone), “Kisses for Christmas” speaks to the simple joys of the season: spending time with the people we love. Check out “Kisses for Christmas” on Spotify or Apple Music today.
Heather Christine has recently dropped the new song “Love at Christmastime,” featuring Donovan Locke. The song is a new jazz composition by the Mississauga award-winning vocalist. “Love at Christmastime” flawlessly mixes the joy of the holiday season with the romance and sexiness of jazz. Heather Christine is accompanied by some of Canada’s top jazz musicians including: Mark Kelso on percussion, Pat Collins on bass, Anthony Panacci on piano, Brian O’Kane on trumpet, and Donovan Locke on guest vocals. Check out “Love at Christmastime” right here for your holiday music enjoyment. You can also see the beautiful video for “Love at Christmastime” here on YouTube.
Katie Ditschun offers a moment of calm and cause for pause this holiday season with the release of her new single, “Be Still.” The new song is the newest single to arrive from Ditschun following the release of her debut album, Spare Skirt (2019). “For me, this is a winter song to sing during Christmastime” Ditschun says, “but the lyrics don’t mention a specific holiday, so it’s really for anyone who enjoys the warm glow of light on a winter’s night. My hope is that people will listen to it, maybe all cozied up by the fire, and feel the calm and peacefulness I wanted to bring them. I consider ‘Be Still’ to be a kind of ‘Silent Night.” “Be Still” is available now on Spotify or Apple Music.
The Brooks, Montreal’s funk/soul/jazz band have recorded their own version of the soulful Otis Redding classic “Merry Christmas Baby.” Originally written by Johnny Moore and Les Baxter, “Merry Christmas Baby,” was an old favorite of the Prater household in Jacksonville, Florida. Recorded live at Tone Bender Studio in Montreal and as the band explains, “adorned in industrial quantities of hand sanitizer, face masks and wipes, we managed to do the impossible and bring you this rendition, just in time for the holidays.” Check out “Merry Christmas Baby” here.
Laila Biali offers a stirring, gospel-infused rendition of the timeless classic carol, “Silent Night” just in time for the holidays. The song comes alongside a beautiful live performance video, bringing the spirit of Biali’s special arrangement to life. You can watch the live video here. Biali grew up singing “Silent Night” in harmony with her sisters at candlelit Christmas Eve Services, year after year, and you can truly feel the emotion and nostalgia in her powerful delivery of the song. “I think most of us agree that this Christmas will be different from any other” reflects Biali “My wish is that Silent Night will bring peace and hope to those who are away from loved ones, and that the spirit of the holiday season, and the spirit of this song, will shine a little light in the dark.” Listen to Biali’s “Silent Night” right here and join her in celebrating the holidays this year with warmth and timeless music!
Paragon Cause has released two new songs for the holidays; “Let Me Be” and “Huron Carol.” Working with producer Sune Rose Wagner (The Raveonettes) on “Let Me Be,” Paragon Cause crafted a song that eludes to a happy time, when the holidays was less stressful and the expectations placed upon us were realistic. Although, we wonder, does that time even exist? The production takes cues from the 60’s wall of sound R&B with a modern flair. Paragon Cause’s interpretation of Canada’s Oldest Christmas carol, the “Huron Carol” features a rare but incredible operatic performance by Michelle Opthof. Written 1642 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the original lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song’s original Huron title is “Jesous Ahatonhia” (“Jesus, he is born”).
JJ Shiplett is celebrating the holidays by inviting fans into his home for his I’ll Be Home for Christmas (live stream concert). The I’ll Be Home for Christmas live stream will take place on December 20 at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm ET via Shiplett’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Fans will be invited into Shiplett’s living room as he performs tracks from both records while spreading some holiday cheer with a few Christmas classics and sharing his favourite cocktail recipe. Mark your calendars for this special virtual event with Shiplett.
Astrid Torrico has released the new Christmas song, “Coming Home On Christmas Day.” The 16-year-old artist is a talented singer and songwriter from Montreal. This is her third single released this year. Check out “Coming Home On Christmas Day” here.
Terri Clark is celebrating the Yuletide season with her brand new studio album, It’s Christmas… Cheers! The new album includes ten holiday tracks and even features special guests such as; Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Pam Tillis, and Suzy Bogguss. You can stream It’s Christmas… Cheers! right here.
Greg Orrē has released a new holiday single “I Might Not See You This Christmas.” Orrē even created a music video for the new song. The video was filmed by Orrē’s partner Kristen Boyé during a massive snowstorm in early November that brought over 30 cm of snow to Saskatoon. Instead of cozying up indoors, the two talents took advantage of the blustery conditions to film scenes of Orrē searching for joy in the blinding white-out storm. You can check out the official video on YouTube. Have a listen to “I Might Not See You This Christmas” right here.
Anne Murray has released The Ultimate Christmas Collection just in time for fans to celebrate this holiday season. This new collection of songs has been selected from Murray’s personal favorites from the six chart-topping Christmas albums she has released since 1981. Murray is one of Canada’s most award and celebrated artists and her Christmas music has become staples in households across the country. You can check out The Ultimate Christmas Collection right here.
Little Known Artist featuring Beth Lane has released “The Huron Carol.” This ambient and etherial and earthy piece, arranged by Little Known Artist (Dean Stairs) is almost haunting in its raw delivery of the Canadian Christmas Hymn, “The Huron Carol.” Beth Lane is featured in the beautiful vocals. The original is said to date back to 1642, probably written by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. The English translation was written by Jesse Edgar Middleton in 1926. You can listen to “The Huron Carol” here.
Steven Hardy has released the song “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas.” You can check out the live piano video that premiered on CBC London right here.
Did you miss out on Part 1? If so, check it out HERE.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to everyone from all of us at Canadian Beats.
Music has touched my soul since day one. Whether it is performing or sitting down with some of the biggest names in music, I can always be found sharing my profoundly tender affection of music with anyone who will listen. Being a music journalist has allowed me to expand my knowledge of music and interact with some of my biggest childhood heroes. From days of radio broadcasting to sitting back, kicking off my cowboy boots and sharing my adventures with likeminded music fans online has been nothing short of amazing. Canada is full of true musical talent and I look forward to continuing to share my adventures in music with you.