Q-Music: Oy to the world! Cher, George Perris and others release holiday albums

  • by Gregg Shapiro
  • Tuesday November 28, 2023
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Q-Music: Oy to the world! Cher, George Perris and others release holiday albums

At the time of this writing, the war between Israel and Palestine is raging with no end in sight. To take our minds off the ongoing tragedies and to celebrate the holiday season, the following are some musical suggestions to get you into the spirit of the time.


While it's true that iconic diva Cher is both timeless and ageless, she was not, in fact, present at the birth of Jesus. Proving that it's never too late to do something unexpected, Cher pulls out all the stops for her first-ever holiday album, simply titled "Christmas" (Warner).

She takes us to the (Christmas) club on the songs "DJ Play A Christmas Song" (co-written by Sarah Hudson, first cousin of Kate and Oliver), "Angels In the Snow" (featuring backing vocals by Cyndi Lauper), and the Tyga duet "Drop Top Sleigh Ride" (both co-written by Sarah Hudson and queer singer/songwriter Ferras).

Cher's in good voice throughout "Christmas," especially on the contemporary standards "Please Come Home For Christmas," the rocking "Run Rudolph Run," the Stevie Wonder duet "What Christmas Means To Me," and "Santa Baby."

However, the real standout here is the uplifting Cyndi Lauper duet "Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart," on which the women take us to church, and will have more than a few of us looking for a tambourine to shake along to the song.

www.cherfanclub.com


More than 2000 years since the birth of Jesus, and several hundred years since the first Christmas song was composed, the massive selection of tunes written for the holiday borders on overwhelming.

For his first Christmas album, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," gay Greek tenor George Perris draws on the Great American Holiday Songbook (the title tune, "Sleigh Ride," "The Christmas Song," and "The Secret of Christmas") and other resources.

What Perris brings to the project is a kind of international holiday flair. We get "Silent Night" in English, as well as in French ("Douce Nuit") and Spanish ("Noche De Paz"), "The Little Drummer Boy" in English, Spanish ("El Tamborilero"), and French ("L'enfant Au Tambour").

www.georgeperris.com


Queer comedian and actor Scout Durwood brings more than just the funny to her new holiday album, "Kirk Pasich Project Presents A Scout Durwood Christmas" (KZZ Music/Blue Élan).

Wordy title aside, Durwood is in possession of a powerful set of pipes and approaches the material with reverence and respect. Like Cher, Durwood takes a spin on the musical sleigh that is the Motown holiday classic "What Christmas Means To Me."

She delivers an appropriately gooey rendition of "A Marshmallow World" and turns up the twang on her readings of Shelby Lynne's "Ain't Nothing Like Christmas" and JD McPherson's "Ugly Sweater Blues." Durwood rocks out on her take on The Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight)," and stuns with her gorgeous version of Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep."

www.scoutdurwood.com


Practically every theater queen worth their weight in ticket stubs knows the story that Stephanie J. Block was replaced as Elphaba by Idina Menzel before "Wicked" opened on Broadway.

But Block rose from the ashes and won awards for playing the role in the national tour of "Wicked," and continued to perform in a variety of popular musicals on and off Broadway.

In other words, Block can sing and does so beautifully on her new holiday album "Merry Christmas, Darling" (Club 44). The dozen tunes include familiar standards such as the title track, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Little Drummer Girl" (on which she's joined by daughter Vivienne), and "O Holy Night." Additionally, Block performs a handful of newer holiday numbers, including two by out singer/songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway: "God Bless My Family" and "Manhattan In December."

www.instagram.com/stephaniejblock

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