Flecktones fans can expect an early Christmas this year, as the Bela Fleck-anchored quartet will release its debut holiday album, "Jingle All the Way" Sept. 30 via Rounder.

Flecktones fans can expect an early Christmas this year, as the Bela Fleck-anchored quartet will release its debut holiday album, "Jingle All the Way" Sept. 30 via Rounder.

The 16-song set has an eclectic array of tunes, from Bach to Vince Guaraldi, traditional songs and the Joni Mitchell classic "River." Guests include Andy Statman, Edger Meyer and the Alash Ensemble, who specialize in Tuvan throat singing.

"We've always wanted to do an album like this," Fleck tells Billboard.com. "This year we started to do less touring, and we didn't want to tour without some new music. It was a slow, steady project. A lot of the arrangements were worked out on tour."

Fleck says the group felt a sense of freedom with these songs because of how familiar it was with most of them, allowing for a more experimental approach. "With your own, you need to state the melody right away," Fleck explains. Of the most ambitious, "Twelve Days of Christmas" builds up to 12 different keys and 12 different time signatures over the course of the tune. "Medley" sought to meld as many Christmas tunes as possible into one song, and Fleck confesses that there's a moment where "five of six are being played together, simultaneously."

"Jingle All The Way" is the Flecktones' first release on Rounder after the group's recent release from its Columbia deal. Prior to the formation of the Flecktones, Fleck started his career with Rounder in 1979.

A U.S. tour that will highlight most of the "Jingle All The Way" material is scheduled to begin Nov. 15 in Spokane, Wash., and concludes with a four-night run at the Blue Note in New York.

Here is the track list for "Jingle All the Way":

"Jingle Bells"
"Silent Night"
"Sleigh Ride"
"The Christmas Song"
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
"J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio"
"Christmas Time Is Here"
"Linus and Lucy"
"Jingle Bells (reprise)"
"The Hanukkah Waltz"
"Danse of the Sugar Plum Fairies"
"O Come All Ye Faithful"
"Medley"
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"River"

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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