Sammy Kershaw is no stranger to the world of holiday music. The country music favorite's 1994 platter "Christmas Time's A Comin'" (which featured the classic "Daddy Stuff") remains a favorite. Kershaw has just released a second Yuletide-themed collection, "A Sammy Klaus Christmas" -- one the singer says came together in a hurry.
"It came about really quick," he confirmed to Billboard. "I had thought about doing one in 2010. I mentioned to someone this year about doing one, then in July, I was told if you're going to do one, you need to do it, otherwise it's not going to get out this year. So, the band and I got into the studio the very next week, and we barely made the deadline."
Kershaw says it was definitely the quickest he had ever recorded an album. "We cut the whole album in one day in the studio. I did the vocals in one day, and we had the background vocals, handed it to Butch, and he did a great job mixing it, took it to the plant, and they jumped right on it."
A collection of standards such as "Jingle Bells" and "Let It Snow," Kershaw said he had a simple but clear goal with the album. "I played this album for some people 18 and under, and the whole time, they kept smiling and singing along with some of the songs. Then I played it for older people, and when it started playing, they smiled, too. I wanted a Christmas album that took us back to when Christmas was Christmas. I wanted an album that the young people could sing along with like we did when we were kids. I know it sounds weird, but I also wanted the older folks to be took back to when they were little children -- back before Christmas wasn't so commercialized. It all worked out in such a short time, but it did work. I'm proud of it," he says.
The album opens with a recitation of "Twas' The Night Before Christmas," and ends with a Cajun-flavored version of the track. "If you go back to the first Christmas album for Mercury, I had the idea back then. We opened up with 'We Three Kings,' and I did all the parts, and then when I finished the first half of it, it kicked into 'Christmas Time's A Comin.' At the end, I close with the last half of 'We Three Kings' a Capella again. I wanted to do something like that," he said. "Most people in the world have never heard the Cajun version, except for people in Louisiana and Southeast Texas, West Mississippi, and South Arkansas. I wanted to share some of my Cajun heritage with people."
Kershaw also dabbles with the blues, covering the Elvis classic "Santa Claus Is Back In Town." He says it's as much a part of his music as George Jones and Mel Street. "I love the blues, and it's a big part of where I come from. There's so much of it here in Louisiana. We're working on a Blues album right now," he says.
Kershaw also continues to tour with Aaron Tippin and Joe Diffie on the "Roots & Boots" tour, and the trio continue to work on an album. Billboard couldn't help but ask Kershaw whether Diffie has gotten the big head about "1994," a Diffie tribute cut that appears on Jason Aldean's Night Train disc.
"You gotta watch Joe. We might have to set him straight pretty soon," Kershaw says with a laugh. The two had engaged in a good natured Facebook photo-shop war over the summer, though he says they have put their laptops down -- for now.