Jamie O’Neal and Ty Herndon Yearn for Togetherness In “Merry Christmas Baby” [Exclusive Premiere]

Country stars and longtime friends Jamie O’Neal and Ty Herndon have teamed up for a heartfelt new duet, just in time for the holidays. Premiering exclusively at American Songwriter today (October 19), “Merry Christmas Baby” finds the pair longing for the presence of a loved one as festivities get into full swing. 

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Produced by O’Neal and her husband, recording engineer Rodney Good, the poignant track showcases both artist’s rich, emotive vocals. The melancholy feeling of being apart from those closest to you—whether it’s a former flame or a family member—radiates from each powerful line.

“I co-wrote ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ with singer/songwriter Allen Mark Russell and knew it was a special song,” O’Neal tells American Songwriter. “I could instantly feel it being a duet and wanted it to have a rockin’, uptempo feel even though the song is wistful lyric-wise. It’s all about missing someone so much that Christmas doesn’t feel the same. 

“I feel like so many people can relate to being separated around the holidays, and it makes it harder to enjoy the season. Getting to sing it with Ty was so much fun; I especially loved getting to boss him around in the studio,” she jokes.

“When Jamie asked me to sing on this track, I was honored to say yes,” Herndon adds. “And when we got in the studio, I knew we were making some magic. It reminded me of the old Kenny [Rogers] and Dolly [Parton] Christmas duets from the 1980s. This song goes out to all those lonely hearts this holiday season, wherever you are.”

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“Merry Christmas Baby” is a cut from O’Neal’s upcoming deluxe edition of Spirit & Joy, set for release on November 3. The song is the latest in a long string of collaborations between the country music hitmakers, who have fostered a close personal and creative bond since the early 2000s. 

[RELATED: Chapel Hart, Ty Herndon Raise Their Voices at Concert for Love & Acceptance]

Herndon will join O’Neal for a special Spirit & Joy Christmas performance in Franklin, Tennessee, on December 8. She’ll also perform a string of holiday-themed shows in Kansas ahead of the Christmas holiday. You can find more information on the tour dates and ticketing options by visiting Jamie O’Neal’s official website.

Listen to “Merry Christmas Baby” below:

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Concert for Love and Acceptance

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