Sounds of Christmas
Nashville musician Rebecca Roubion talks about the holiday memories that inspired her new album Christmas Lights.
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Rebecca Roubion has made a new home in Nashville, Tennessee, to build her brand in Music City. After releasing Fields in 2012 and then Forests in 2013, she has moved on to release a new holiday album titled Christmas Lights. Calling to mind the nostalgia of classic carols and featuring four original holiday songs, the album is featured in the official Deep South Holiday Gift Guide this year and a thoughtful gift for the music lovers on your list.
Upon the release of Christmas Lights, we asked Roubion a few questions about recording a holiday album and her own Christmas traditions.
Why did you want to put out a holiday album?
I never thought I’d make a Christmas record this early on in my career, and as boring as it sounds, the label actually requested some Christmas material back in the summer. But as it turned out, I’d written several Christmas songs through the years, so I was grateful for an excuse to finally record them. The oldest original was “Yahweh” — written about eight years ago — and I had always dreamed of tracking it with a gospel choir. This opportunity made my dreams come true!
How would you describe Christmas Lights?
I would say it revives the nostalgia of the classic carols we know and love while reintroducing them in a fresh way. It’s also a hopeful, warm record with minimal production. Each arrangement is crafted so as to delicately point to the meaning behind each song.
What was Christmas in Mobile like for you growing up? Any special musical traditions?
I’m so fortunate to have spent my entire childhood with extended family during Christmas. As one of five children, we had the family tradition of taking a full day to hang ornaments and decorating the whole house together while listening to a classic Christmas compilation. We (each of the kids) have our own specific ornament reserved especially for us, and even now as adults, our Mom puts them aside so we can hang them when we come home for the holidays.
Christmas Lights is a mix of original songs and traditional holiday tunes like “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.” Do you have a favorite classic song or album that you love to listen to during Christmas time?
The Christmas album we listened to as a family was the Time Life Treasury of Christmas compilation. It includes classic renditions by Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Eva Cassidy, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Aaron Neville and more. It’s hard to find favorites among contemporary Christmas covers simply because they tend to be over the top, in my opinion. I like the classic approach with simple accompaniment, because Christmas is so timeless. That said, A Very She and Him Christmas is a fun, modern yet retro Christmas record, and we borrowed inspiration from it while making Christmas Lights.
Will you be celebrating Christmas in Nashville this year?
After the Christmas Lights tour, I’ll actually be spending Christmas on Crystal Mountain in Michigan this year — skiing (trying not to wipe out), making snow angels and staying bundled by the fire. A very stark contrast from spending childhood Christmases in Alabama and Louisiana, where December 25 gets up to 80 degrees. Let’s hope I don’t get frostbite!