If you’re not itching for the holiday season yet, singer-songwriter Jamie O’Neal will get you there.
Videos by American Songwriter
Announcing her debut into the holiday realm with Spirit & Joy, the powerhouse vocalist is set to join the Christmas season.
The holiday project stemmed from wanting to give more music to her fans. “In 2020 with the release of my new album Sometimes, I just said, ‘I really want to keep putting out new music for the fans. Let’s put out a Christmas song!'” O’Neal tells American Songwriter. “‘River’ is my favorite and from there, it was just like ‘This is so much fun! What other Christmas songs do I want to record?’”
Like Christmas, the singer made the album a family affair, enlisting her husband, Rodney Good, to collaborate on “Please Come Home for Christmas” as well as her father, Jimmy Murphy; sister, Melissa Murphy; and daughter Aliyah Good on a stellar rendition of “Do you Hear What I Hear?”
“It was about time after 22 years of singing together that we did a duet,” O’Neal says of working with her husband, “and this is one of our all-time favorite Christmas songs.”
“It was so important and special to me to have them all sing on something,” she says, referencing the work with her daughter, sister, and father. In fact, O’Neal was moved to tears by their work on the track. It may be a seasonal album, but it’s a deeply personal one all year round.
For every lighthearted song about love and togetherness that fills the album, there is one track that hangs on loss and pain. “You Were Christmas to Me” was written with the artist’s lost loved ones in mind. “It can be so hard for people to get through the holidays,” she says. “I really hope [listeners] find comfort listening to my music and knowing their loved ones live on through how they celebrate (not just at Christmas) but every day.”
Ahead of its September 23 release, O’Neal is sharing a first listen of the Spirit & Joy lead single, “Christmas,” written by Jeffery Steele. The delicate arrangement offers a refreshing take on a holiday tune, straying away from the trademark deck-the-halls gaudiness of most Christmas classics.
Listen to the single below.
“I called [Jeffrey Steele] and said, ‘Jeff I need some Christmas songs dude, and he said, ‘Ok… I’m gonna write you one right now,'” she recalls of the song’s creation. “I thought, ‘Oh sure you are, then like an hour or two later, he sends it to me! I was like, ‘Damn, this is why they pay you the big bucks!'”
Spirit & Joy Track List:
2. “Christmas You”
Jamie O’Neal, Corey Lee Barker
3. “Please Come Home for Christmas” Feat. Rodney Good
Charles Brown, Gene Redd
4. “White Christmas”
5. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
Kim Gannon, Walter Kent
6. “Gulf of Mexico”
Jamie O’Neal, Rodney Good, Jimmy Murphy
7. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Feat. Jimmy Murphy, Melissa Murphy and Aliyah Good
Noel Regne, Gloria Shayne
8. “You Were Christmas to Me”
Jamie O’Neal, Corey Lee Barker
10. “Silver Bells” Feat. Collin Raye
Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
Photos by Angela Talley / Adkins Publicity