Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Salute to Women in Music

One of the other things that I do, apart from my real job and Christmas blogging, is serving as the Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Women's  Music Network, a non-profit organization focused on supporting and growing the careers and talents of our members, the female-identifying musicians in the Kansas City vicinity (although we welcome members country and world-wide).  If you would like to learn more about KCWMN, see the links at the bottom of this post.

As a tie from this blog to KCWMN, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Christmas albums from female musicians.  Most of these are easy to find online if you're interested in growing your collection.

Emmylou Harris - "Light of the Stable".  Not only is this tops on this list of Christmas music by female musicians, it is an essential part of every Christmas music collection.  

Kate and Anna McGarrigle - "The McGarrigle Christmas Hour".  Man oh man, what a collection of talent.  Kate and Anna are joined by Rufus and Martha Wainwright, their sister Jane, Emmylou Harris, and many others in this festival of folky Christmas songs.  

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - "It's a Holiday Soul Party".  Need a jolt of life in your holiday festivities?  Look no further than the late great Sharon Jones.  Not long before her passing, Ms. Jones gifted this incredible album to the world.  Hot hot hot!

Doris Day - "Complete Christmas Collection".  One of the classic voices of Christmas (and I proudly own a CD signed by the great Ms. Day!)

Jillaine - "Jazzy Christmas to You".  This is the first of four Christmas albums by Jillaine (the last being digital only and may be difficult to find).  After a whirlwind few years as a jazz singer, Jillaine earned her law degree and is now a practicing lawyer.  Thankfully, her music is still available at select digital outlets.

Elizabeth Chan - "Christmas in the City".  Known as the "Queen of Christmas", Elizabeth Chan has released nine(!) Christmas albums/EPs over the past decade.  "Christmas in the City" is one of her finest.  Check out Elizabeth's work and hear true dedication to the Christmas music genre.

Aimee Mann - "One More Drifter in the Snow"  When I bought this at a used record store in Omaha, my first thought upon hearing it is "Why don't I have this already?"  A truly gorgeous album.

Peggy Lee - "Ultimate Christmas". 
This is a new collection of Ms. Lee's Christmas songs, released this year.  No serious Christmas music collection is complete without the magical voice of Peggy Lee.

Christina Perri - "A Very Merry Perri Christmas".
  I actually don't know a lot about Ms. Perri apart from this EP, but I should really learn more, because this is fantastic.

Rehya Stevens - "Celebrate".  Ah, man, the lovely and talented Rehya Stevens' 2018 album "Celebrate" is sooooooo good.  Rehya also released a single - 'Tis the Season - in 2019 and (rumor has it) has a new Christmas album planned for 2021.  Rehya is a sweetheart, and I can hardly wait for her new album next year!  In the meantime, I think I'll play this about 20 times.  Oh - listen for Rehya's songs in the movie "Noelle" on Netflix, and in several Hallmark movies.  Wow!

Aretha Franklin - "This Christmas".  I mean, it's Aretha, and she released a Christmas album.  'Nuff said.

The Roches - "We Three Kings".  I found this CD at a Half Price Books, not knowing a derned thing about The Roches (Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy Roche).  It jumped onto my list of perennial favorites.  It's a wild trip through multiple musical styles, all with the supercharged personalities of the Roche sisters.  The title track channels Mark Knopfler from the glory days of Dire Straits, I swear...  And, as I write this in November 2020, Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche are on the folk charts. Awesome!

Thisbe Vos - "A Jazzy Christmas".  This album by indie jazz singer/songwriter Thisbe Vos is one of the best jazz Christmas albums I own. When I got it through her crowdfunding campaign several years back, I just couldn't get it out of the rotation - it was too awesome to be replaced.  Thisbe is still active as a SoCal singer, and her songwriting is A-game.  

Kat Tingey - "Ring Out Wild Bells".  Kat Tingey hit it out of the park with "Ring Out Wild Bells", her Christmas album from 2014.  Her voice is amazing, her phrasing is amazing, the record is amazing.  Amazing amazing amazing.  And, probably the hardest on this list to find.  Although, as of this writing it looks like there are a few copies on Amazon, and a digital version is available.  Treat yourself to this amaz... well, you know, album.

Darlene Love - "It's Christmas, Of Course".  Now, it wouldn't be a 'Women in Christmas Music' list without the standard bearer, now would it?  Darlene Love practically is Christmas.  

Dolly Parton - "A Holly Dolly Christmas". 
This is a new in 2020 release from Dolly Parton, chock full of guests and her eternal smiling spirit.  You know, with everything that Dolly has contributed to the world (I mean, a million bucks donated for coronavirus vaccine), I'd nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Seriously.  She has a back catalog of Christmas songs to complement her new album.  Hail Dolly!

So that's it.  There are many, many more that I could have included, but these are some of my favorites.  

If you'd like to know more about the Kansas City Women' Music Network, visit our website or find us on Facebook.

KCWMN website
KCWMN on Facebook


  1. Yep, that's one heck of a list.
    If I may add a little (former now)
    NY bias, I loved Jaymay's Jaymay sings Christmas.
    Pretty gutsy to make it a double album. 2018 or so.
    A personal fav.

  2. The McGarrigle Hour is my wife's favorite. We listen to it plenty around here.