Mandy Barnett – Here Comes Santa Claus
Mandy Barnett – Here Comes Santa Claus
Born Amanda Carol Barnett, Mandy Barnett began singing as a child, winning the Best Country Act at Dollywood when she was only ten, and her mother started bringing her on trips to Nashville.
As a teenager, she was signed by renowned talent scout and producer Jimmy Bowen, and eventually Asylum Records. An uncompromising singer whose style was rooted in the classic country of Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Webb Pierce, and Brenda Lee, Barnett’s keen interpretive sense enabled her to delve into a song, study the intricacies of its emotional content, and render a powerful performance through her full-bodied voice. Her torchy delivery on her contemporary yet retro-sounding country and pop-tinged material recalled Patsy Cline, so it’s no wonder that while waiting to record her self-titled debut, she paid her bills by playing the legendary singer four nights a week and 26 weeks a year in the musical production Always…Patsy Cline at the Ryman Auditorium. She left Asylum for Sire Records with 1999’s I’ve Got a Right to Cry. Winter Wonderland, a holiday album featuring a vintage Nashville sound, appeared from Rounder Records in 2010, followed by called Sweet Dreams on Opry Records in 2011. Barnett next released a tribute album called I Can’t Stop Loving You in 2013. In 2018, she expanded her musical horizons with the soulful Strange Conversation.
~ Jack Leaver, Rovi
For most families, Christmas is all about traditions, and the music of this special season is also tried-and-true. Perhaps nobody understands that better than the people who make their music in Nashville, Tennessee.
Holiday standards such as “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Marshmallow World” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” were all first recorded in Nashville studios, and perennial favorites such as “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” are all strongly identified with country-music singers. The heyday of Music City’s holiday record making was the so-called Nashville Sound era of the 1960s. This is when enduring Christmas recordings by Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Elvis Presley, Kitty Wells, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash were created.
Acclaimed vocalist Mandy Barnett recaptures that golden era with Winter Wonderland. The Tennessee native chose both the album’s repertoire and its musical cast with exactly that goal in mind.
“It is my favorite time of music,” says Mandy. “I’m a big fan of Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, [producer] Owen Bradley, Elvis Presley, Burl Ives, Perry Como, and that whole era. So I really wanted to make a Nashville Sound Christmas record. And I wanted to have some of the ‘old school’ musicians on it because nobody plays the standards like these guys do.
“It’s just me and a good group of guys I’ve known forever and can really communicate with. We’re all good friends.”
Such Nashville Sound veterans as Harold Bradley, Lloyd Green, Louis Nunley, Gene Chrisman, and Tony Migliore participated in Mandy’s Winter Wonderland recording sessions. As important as their contributions are, it is the lustrous voice of Mandy Barnett that makes this collection an instant classic. The textures and tones in her delivery range from the blues-tinged “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to the lightly bopping “Jingle Bell Rock,” from the alto range of “This Time of the Year” to the sunny soprano of “Winter Wonderland.”
Mandy Barnett is one of the most critically applauded vocal stylists in Nashville today. She has been recording since the age of 9 and was a regular performer at Dollywood in East Tennessee before she reached her teens. As a teenager, she dazzled audiences as the star of the stage musical Always… Patsy Cline. Since then, her albums have been praised in the pages of Rolling Stone, People, Newsweek, and many other national publications. In addition to her own CDs, she has been featured on a number of film soundtracks, including Space Cowboys, Traveller, Election, A Walk on the Moon, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Crazy.
But none of these projects have brought her as much joy as Winter Wonderland.