HO HO WHO: Connie Britton, she of the flowing golden hair and “hey, y’all”s, and Will Chase, Broadway star and 2013 Tony nominee, performing as their Nashville characters, Rayna James and Luke Wheeler, on the new Christmas with Nashville album. Think of them as a Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton-esque country power couple with more soap opera drama.
HEY, WHAT’S IN THIS DRINK: On this cover of the date-rapiest holiday song of all time, the vocalists completely lack chemistry. Chase sounds downright predatory, though he does tell Britton “I ain’t gonna bite ya” in the spoken introduction, while Britton’s wispy voice can’t hold a note for more than a second, emphasizing her desire to flee into the night. Only when the singers build a super-believable relationship does this song not sound like a warning to women everywhere.
HERE WE COME A-CAROLING: As a genre, country lacks its own holiday-specific anthems, so on this album, we’re left with a bunch of clunky covers of pop songs backed by a manufactured twang. The actors try to sell these versions as best they can, though some—-like Alexandria native Charles Esten, who pulls of a decent “Blue Christmas” later on the album—-succeed more than others. (Britton’s awkward sing-talking? Girl, give it up already.) T Bone Burnett’s influence, which made the first season’s music so damn good, is sorely missed.
CHEER FACTOR: 3/10. It may be cold outside, but baby, I’d rather venture into the snow than listen to this uncomfortable duet again.