Summer's over and it's still hot, but even so, Faith Hill is quick to warm up to talk about Christmas.

Summer's over and it's still hot, but even so, Faith Hill is quick to warm up to talk about Christmas. Which is more than appropriate as she sets up the first -- and, quite possibly, only -- Christmas album of her career, "Joy to the World," due this wek on Warner Bros.

While many Nashville-based artists record holiday records early and relatively often, Hill's was several years in the making and intended to be her definitive take on the season. "Joy to the World" is overwhelmingly a collection of standards, be it the big, booming orchestral arrangements of the title track or "Oh, Holy Night" or swinging, big-band, vintage-sounding versions of more lighthearted fare such as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Holly, Jolly Christmas."

"I love everything about Christmas, and I have wanted to record a Christmas album since the beginning of my career," Hill says. Song selection was one of the "toughest things" about putting the project together, Hill says. She wanted to ensure she had the perfect team in place in the studio; the album's producers are Hill, Dann Huff and Byron Gallimore, and the entire album was arranged and conducted by David Campbell and engineered by Allen Sides.

"Fortunately, most of these songs I've known my entire life," she says, adding that she and Campbell took care to deliver the songs as written-even if they were written a century ago. "On some of them I was used to singing the lyric I grew up with, which was not really always the original lyric. I guess over time things just change, or people take their own interpretation of what the song was originally."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print