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on October 13, 2006
Prime Cuts: Penguin, James Penguin, Santa Looked A lot Like Daddy, I'll Be Home for Christmas

Santa's secret spies, confronting Christmas addictive withdrawals, and daddy playing dress-ups: these are sacred totems associated with the yuletide for Brad Paisley. While many a Christmas CD offers punctilious readings of traditional carols stuck in a mire of saccharine sentimentality, Paisley's debut holiday effort shows personality. Ingenuity and his ingrained humor get the upper hand as this country superstar revels in the frolicsome candor of the festive season. However, not all is frivolous fun, on certain tracks Paisley does essay the lofty message of Christmas and its sentiments via some of most timely formidable carols of yore performed with a romantic valor and thoughtful impeccability. Though this is a seasonal detour, stylistically "A Brad Paisley Christmas" does not sidestep too far away from Paisley's typical country outings. Just as his albums has never been monolithic; a bit of everything represented on this CD: from romantic lush ballads, to spitfire honk tonk to revved up rock to an instrumental as well as a few nods to Paisley's comical side.

The more interesting tracks here are the originals, of which there are four. Paisley ups the ante on his narrative skills on the jovial narrative about Santa's secret spy that goes by the moniker "Penguin, James Penguin." Told with a tickle of cheekiness, "Penguin, James Penguin" ought to add Christmas cheer to kids as well as bring a seasonal smile to adults. Much less colorful is the laconic "364 Days to Go" a wry cynical bluesy-ballad about the obsessive entanglements of the holidays. Sharing the microphone again with the Paisley-created the Kung Pao Buckaroos -- otherwise known as Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, and Bill Anderson -"Kung Pao Holidays" is a satire of the notion of "political correctness" basked by a comedic sonic veneer. On a much sober and traditional tenor, "Born on Christmas Day" features Paisley when he was 13 years old trading verses with himself (towards the end) on a self-penned Southern-Gospel-like ballad detailing the story of Christ's birth.

Even when Paisley delves into the traditional canon of yuletide favorites, he is not content to offer a straight reading. Listen especially to the lyrical changes to "Santa Looked A Lot like Daddy" for his personal augmentation that brings out another humorous dimension. While on "I'll Be Home For Christmas," co-producer Frank Rogers and Paisley himself, went all the way to provide a dreamy string-laden backing, thus creating one of the most romantic renditions since Tony Bennett's rendition. On the other hand, the reverent singing of "Silent Night" is a tad on the dull side. This is only redeemed by "Away in a Manger" which receives a revved up honky tonk treatment. Though guitar accolades may find much to celebrate over the instrumental "Jingle Bells," it does nothing to the musically illiterate.

As far as Christmas CDs go, "Brad Paisley's Christmas" strikes a balance between the season's sacred as well as its more jovial side. Yet most winsome is that Paisley's at home in both turfs. Whether he delves into the spiritual message of the importance of Christ's birth or just cracking jokes with the Kung Pao Buckaroos over appropriate language in holiday tunes, Paisley sounds at ease. If there's a pickle to pick, it's that the album has too few tracks. Nevertheless, with Paisley displaying his colorful personality throughout the CD, there's not a dull moment during Brad Paisley's Christmas.
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on October 11, 2006
I have been a fan of Brad since 2004 and I have eagerly awaited a Christmas album. Well after 7 years of being on the scene, here it is and I believe it was well worth the wait.

1. Winter Wonderland- 8/10 This is song is NOT my favorite Christmas song and that is the only reason I give it an 8. Brad's voice superb and any country music fan with information about the Opry members will love the Jim Ed Brown line that is thrown in there

2. Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy- 10/10 In this Buck Owens' cover, Brad shines. I have only heard the original a few times, but this version makes me think of Buck and of Brad and Buck's relationship.

3. I'll Be Home for Christmas-10/10 Brad's voice gave me chills. His voice is definitely at its best here. It's an amazing version of the this song, and even if you hate this song, you'll be sure to enjoy Brad's version.

4. Away in a Manger-9/10 When I heard the electric guitar at the beginning, I thought "Oh no...please no..." because I've had this song ruined before by another country artist. Luckily, the electric guitar fades away by the time Brad starts singing. The electric guitar does persist throughout, but it is not overally powerful and complements Brad's singing rather than detracting from it.

5. Penguin, James Penguin- 10/10 Brad Paisley and Frank Rogers penned this instant child favorite. Any adult will enjoy as well. It tells of a secret agent bird. The story line is reminiscent of Rudolph, but not too much. It definitely has some great lines in it.

6. 364 Days to Go-8/10 I have this song on an exclusive Target cd released last year (and in 2001) as well as this cd. In the Target cd, the song seems different than this version. The beginning is different and the kid's voice at the end is also different. I prefer the Target version over this version. The song is still definitely worth a listen, and to those who don't have the Target cd, the differences won't bother you at all.

7. Jingle Bells [Instrumental]- 10/10 Brad has always included an instrumental on his albums and this album is no different. This instrumental reminds me of Nervous Breakdown off of "Who Needs Pictures". So if you're sick of normal Jingle Bells, give this one a listen. It even has the "Hey!"'s.

8. Silent Night-10/10 For this one, it is mainly Brad and the acoustic guitar. I was hoping for that and Brad didn't disappoint. The song is absolutely remarkable.

9. Born on Christmas Day-11/10. This is by far the best song on the album for any Brad fan. Born on Christmas Day was the first song Brad ever wrote. He penned it as a 12 year old. The song starts out with a recording from when he was 13 making is Jamboree debut. His voice as a 13 year old is amazing. After the first chorus, it goes to Brad today as a 33 year old. Towards the end, it goes to both the 13 year old version and the 33 year old version as a duet. The song is stunning and after wanting to hear this song for so long, I cried like a baby the first time I heard it. It is truely remarkable writing for anyone, especially a 12 year old boy!

10. Silver Bells- 7/10 I don't agree with the placement of this song. Brad's voice is great, but where the song is just makes me not really listen to it. So if you're listening to this cd, listen to this song BEFORE you listen to Born on Christmas Day; otherwise you too won't be too impressed by it.

11. Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday- 10/10 For a third time, The Kung Pao's are getting together. This one is for a completely non-offensive polictically correct holiday. This is a funny track, but it made me sad because there is so much truth to it. So it was weird, laughing and feeling somewhat sad at the same time. But really, it is quite good.

Overall this album I say gets 9.8 stars out of 10. It was great and it made me wish that this cd was like Time Well Wasted track wise. I hope one day Brad will record another Christmas cd because this one was absolutely amazing! So definitely go pick up this album. The songs are superb and hey, I have fun listening to them even in October!
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on December 1, 2006
I'll admit, I'm a big fan of Brad Paisley. But I'll try to keep my review unbiased...

Brad has done a fantastic job of blending country with Christmas music. All the tracks are pleasant to listen to. Brad's vocal and guitar skills are again proven unmatched by any other. As with other Brad Paisley CDs, you will also find a Kung Pao Buckaroo track, which is hilarious. Again, as always you will find an instrumental track, incidentally the Jingle Bell.

You will also find a track featuring a song from Brad's childhood, Born on Christmas Day. I disagree with the other reviewer, Mr. Branchini, who calls the inclusion of the track "self-indulgent." After all, this is a Christmas album, and this is a song young Brad Paisley himself wrote about Christmas. This is one of my favorite tracks. But then again, every track on this album is a favorite.

Great job, Brad.
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on December 26, 2013
This is a great CD! Brad Paisley's familiar style and great guitar work is a big part of the charm of his work. This CD definitely does not disappoint his fans. His renditions of Christmas favorites like "Winter Wonderland", "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night" are new and his own expressions of them are pleasingly holiday standards. However, what really stands out are new ones we haven't heard like "Penguin, James Penguin" about Santa's Secret Spy, or his simple expression of "364 Days to Go". There is a special "duet" treat in this CD. I really enjoyed it and I'm sure any Brad Paisley fans would, too. But I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, so you'll just have to buy the CD!
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on October 16, 2006
My house rule of "No Christmas Music Will Be Played January Through November" has been broken - by me. In fact, since I bought this CD last week, the Rule has been broken over and over because I cant stop listening to it! This CD is a no-brainer for any BP fan, for "Born on Christmas Day" alone, but also listeners unfamiliar with Paisley's music will thoroughly enjoy it. "Kung Pau Buckaroo Holiday" will make even those most politically correct smile, and "Penguin, James Penguin" is an instant children's Christmas classic.
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on December 9, 2013
Brad is awesome to begin with and I love his guitar playing. His voice is just perfect for Christmas music and the down home feel that his music gives to Away in a Manger just makes me think I'm down south having a warm and cozy Christmas.
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on March 7, 2015
This Christmas CD is one of my favorites! I bought it a few years ago, played it all the time, misplaced it and didn't get to listen to it one Christmas, still hadn't found it by the next Christmas, and bought it a second time. It's not Christmas without Brad Paisley singing on the soundtrack! My favorite is how he blends a recording of him singing a song he wrote and performed as a child, before his voice changed, along with him singing a verse in the voice we all recognize and love. That song is a 'gift' every time I hear it. Thank you, Brad!
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on December 2, 2012
Great album; it really put me in the spirit the first time I listened. The track with the Kung Pao Buckaroos (Brad, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones and Bill Anderson) trying to sing a "politically correct" Christmas song is nothing less than hysterical. There are some cute tunes like "Penguin, James Penguin" that I found refreshing, but when Brad gets down to the business of making a solid Christmas album, that's where he really shines. I loved the recording of a 13-year-old Brad singing an original holiday song he had written himself, called "Born on Christmas Day". Overall, this a a great listen!!!
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on March 9, 2014
I have never been disappointed by Brad Paisley, and his Christmas album is no exception. With warmth and humor, he hits it out of the park! I particularly enjoy Penquin, James Penguin, and Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday for the humor; and Born on Christmas Day always makes me smile. In that track, he does a duet with his 13 year old self on an old performance recording. Brad deserves all his success. I read his book, too, and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of his, or plays guitar. It's title is, Diary of a Player.

My son bought the Brad Paisley Christmas album for me in a bundle deal, with a digital download included with a CD that arrived in the mailbox. The download works and sounds fine on my Kindle Fire HDX device. The CD also works well, and arrived promptly.
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on October 17, 2009
I absolutely love Brad Paisley and I love what he has done with these great xmas songs!!He's given these old favorites a country make over while still keeping the spirit of Christmas.
He includes an excellent version of Buck Owens classic Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy-this will get your feet tapping!And the most amazing version of Away In A Manger I have ever heard-between Brads voice and electric guitar plus the fantastic fiddle arrangement you will just fall in love with this one.There's a great chilled out version of I'll Be Home For Christmas and Winter Wonderland.Brad also includes 3 new songs that he wrote for this cd,the standout one been Born On Christmas Day which he wrote at just 13.The song begins with Brad at 13 singing the song with just his acoustic guitar then transforms into the Brad of today,it really showcases just what an amazing voice he really has!!
He finishes up the album with the classic Silver Bells and the truly hilarious Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday with the infamous Kung Pao Buckaroos(Bill Anderson,George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens)The perfect way to end this brilliant festive album.
This will be a xmas album that you will enjoy for years to come...
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