Interview: For Aaron Watson, Making a Christmas Album Was a Family Affair
Aaron Watson admits that before releasing An Aaron Watson Family Christmas in October, he was long overdue for a Christmas album. When the Texas country star set about creating his new, 10-song collection, he was answering a long-standing fan demand for a holiday project.
"Over the past five years, we really had the fans kinda start harassing me for a Christmas record," Watson says with a laugh. "I would start feeling the pressure around November, December, with the nonstop tweets and comments on social media and at my shows, like, 'When are you gonna make a Christmas record?!'"
Watson explains that in order to have a holiday record ready for the season, however, he'd need to start recording the project in the late spring and early summer -- when he was usually on the road. And so, in June, the singer blocked off a group of "staycation" days to hang out at home and record some Christmas music.
Not only did the decision provide Watson the time and space to record the songs in time for the holidays, it also allowed him to turn the process into a family project. As much as he was doing it for the fans, the singer says that An Aaron Watson Family Christmas also represents a chance to create some memories with his children.
"My kids are at this really special age where they still have that innocent joy about the holidays that only a child has," Watson tells The Boot. "While they're still young enough to enjoy all aspects of Christmas, they're old enough that they can actually help out with a Christmas record."
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Jingle Bells" both feature Watson's wife Kimberly, while the whole Watson family helped out with "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." A performance of "Christmas Time Is Here," meanwhile, spotlights Watson's youngest daughter, 8-year-old Jolee Kate, and also includes a reading from his 10-year-old son Jack.
"I'm pretty sure Jolee Kate is going to take ownership of everything before it's all said and done. Right now, she wants to be a singer, a dancer, an actor and a veterinarian, so you see what I'm dealing with," Watson shares. "But Jolee is very talented. The girl can sing. She really enjoyed it, and it gave me an opportunity to get in there and kind of give her 'Singing in the Studio 101.'"
For the country star, including his children in his career is simply a way to introduce them to the family business. "My dad had a custodial business when I was young, and you know what? Dad always had me help him do things," Watson recalls. "Cleaning toilets was definitely not as fun as getting to sing on a Christmas record, but it's important that the kids understand what I do. I expect a lot out of the kids, but they really put in a lot of effort. They practiced. I'm so proud of them."
It's because of that, Watson says, that An Aaron Watson Family Christmas is just as special a keepsake as any family heirloom Christmas ornament. "I know that years from now, when my babies are grown, I will sit and listen to this album and just [cry] tears of joy. It's so special," he admits. "I honestly think I made [the album] more for myself."
However, Watson is quick to add, he hopes the project will stand the test of time, and help his fanbase spend quality time with their own families.
"I've got a bunch of old Sinatra records, Beach Boys Christmas records, Larry Gatlin, Bing Crosby -- all these great, old-school Christmas records," he explains. "They remind me of growing up. So I really hope that [my] Christmas record can become that for families. I hope they can enjoy this record for years and years to come and it can become part of their Christmas tradition."
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