When the McCrary Sisters first decided to record A Very McCrary Christmas, they knew what message they wanted to convey. As Regina McCrary noted, “This record is about wanting people to love and care again.” Deborah McCrary adds, “And put the reason back in the season.”
But as Freda McCrary recalls, “We said we want to do traditional songs, but with a different twist, and give it a different feel — all of them have just a different little — our different flavor on it. So, I guess we can call it the McCrary flavor.”
The track Joyful, Joyful, is loaded with that flavor. Their exuberant arrangement of this classic hymn features a guest vocal by Pastor Shirley Caesar, a beloved fixture of the Gospel music community for over six decades. “Well, we’ve been knowing her all our life,” Regina McCrary says. “She’s legendary. There’s nobody as legendary as she is. And she’s got a good heart.” But they didn’t stop there. “We decided to pull in all of the McCrary family,” she says. “The little, bitty bitty ones to the oldest ones. We just brought everybody who could come in the studio that day, and then we kept going over the chorus part. And they sung it, not only with us, but it got bigger and bigger to the point where we were real crowded in there. So, when we get ready to perform that, the whole family will be up on stage.”
A Very McCrary Christmas, co-produced with three-time GRAMMY winner Scott Billington, is a stunning collection of 13 sacred songs – 12 traditional hymns and one new composition – featuring arrangements that reflect the quartet’s soulful Southern roots.
The album also features guest appearances by Steve Crawford, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Buddy Miller, and Keb’ Mo’. The McCrary Sisters can be heard individually throughout the songs, yet it’s the power of all four voices together that makes the album shine.
The album was inspired by the Sisters’ annual A McCrary Kind of Christmas concert in Nashville. Now in its tenth year, the concert benefits local families as well as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Just like these annual concerts, A Very McCrary Christmas highlights the sisters’ favorite holiday songs, delivered with reverence and exuberance.
The concert is scheduled to take place at Lipscomb University’s Collins Auditorium on Friday, December 6 at 7:00 PM. The McCrary Sisters will be joined by special guests including Etta Britt, Danny Flowers, the McCrary Family, and Lee Ann Womack. More guests will be announced in the coming weeks.
When asked what she hopes listeners will take away from A Very McCrary Christmas, Ann McCrary doesn’t hesitate for a moment. “Joy. Pure joy. Excitement. And Christmas. That it’s Christmas. Some of them will hear songs that they used to listen to when they were little. And it’s going to bring that back to them.”