Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert, and Angaleena Presley of the Pistol Annies perform onstage during Miranda Lambert: Roadside Bars And Pink Guitars 2019 Tour featuring Caylee Hammack, Pistol Annies, Elle King and Miranda Lambert at Mohegan Sun Arena on September 14, 2019 in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars 2019 Tour

Wide Open Country's Holiday Six Pack: Pistol Annies, Brian Fallon + More

Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs. Here are six songs we currently have on repeat.

"Virgin Mary Had One Son," Brian Fallon

Singer-songwriter and Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon recorded a collection of hymns he grew up singing for his recently released album Night Divine, which features a stirring recording of the folk standard "Virgin Mary Had One Son."

"I heard Odetta sing an incredible live version of 'Virgin Mary Had One Son,' and it was actually one of the performances that inspired me to learn the piano," Fallon said in a statement. "Joan Baez sang it back in the sixties too. From those two versions, I put down my own structure with the acoustic guitar and the vocal. The other sonic elements appear and disappear like characters in a play. In the end, everything comes out for one last note."

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Christmas Without Crying," Lori McKenna

There's a long line of wistful Christmas songs; "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are sure to cause a lump in your throat when they pop up on your holiday playlists. Now, Lori McKenna's "Christmas Without Crying" joins the pantheon of bittersweet holiday tunes.

The song, featured on McKenna's 6-track album Christmas is Right Here, reflects on holidays gone by and the sadness and nostalgia that can hit especially hard this time of year.

"Even if you wouldn't change one single thing about your life/ It's a matter of time," McKenna sings. "You can't make it through Christmas without crying"

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"The Christmas Song," Alannah McCready

Alannah McCready, a national champion hockey player turned country singer-songwriter, adds a touch of class to holiday gatherings with a jazzy, piano-based take on "The Christmas Song."

"'The Christmas Song' is one of my favorite holiday songs so I decided to release my own version of it this year," McCready said in a press release. "This song brings me joy whenever I hear it because I am instantly reminded of holiday moments with my loved ones over the years. My family loves to spend Christmas singing our favorite classic Christmas songs. I hope my version brings you joy this holiday season as well."

Mel Torme and Robert Wells penned "The Christmas Song" (commonly subtitled "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" or "Merry Christmas to You") in the 1940s. It was first popularized by Nat "King" Cole.

— Bobby Moore

"Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," J.D. Shelburne

J.D. Shelburne stays true to the light-hearted, guitar-steered spirit of Buck Owens' "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy."

Shelburne's Owens cover and a new recording of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" serve as annual reminders that he's no holiday music-hating Grinch.

"Growing up in Kentucky on the family farm, we listened to Christmas music starting in November," he said in a press release. "It has just been a tradition in our family for many years and still is. Each year, I always spend time in the studio in the fall gearing up to record some Christmas music for my family and my fans."

Owens and longtime bandmate Don Rich co-wrote "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," a Bakersfield country classic and one of the sweetest seasonal songs about child-like wonder.

— Bobby Moore

"Christmas in the Sun," Morgan Evans

As an Australian, Morgan Evans never grew up with a white Christmas. His new holiday song "Christmas in the Sun" finds inspiration from spending the holiday on the beach and it ends up being the fun Christmas song I didn't know I needed. The lyrics are incredibly catchy, nodding to its beachy Christmas peer "Mele Kalikimaka" and I've found myself humming the chorus all week long.

A little Christmas in the sun
Red bikini and a tan
Mistletoe's in the sand
Stick a ribbon on some rum
A hula angel on a palm tree

— Courtney Fox

"Believing," Pistol Annies

When I saw that Pistol Annies were releasing a holiday album I was so excited. Their original holiday songs on Hell of a Holiday (as well as some old classics) are so catchy, I know that this is going to be an album I turn to every Christmas. Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe created Christmas magic with their new songs — especially with "Believing." Apparently, it's the trio's favorite song on the album.

"It sparks that childlike feeling, at least for me and other people that I've played it for," Presley told People. "The innocence just resonates with me. I have like a hundred nieces and nephews, and that's the one they all responded to the most. In fact, my little cousin Charlie shed a tear, and he's on a naughty list just about every year."

— Courtney Fox