Country Chatter

CMA Country Christmas hosted by Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins

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We are officially in the holiday season, and CMA Country Christmas gets the long list of TV specials started this coming Monday night (Nov. 30). Hosted by Thomas Rhett and and his wife, author Lauren Akins, the show will feature performances from Rhett, Lady A, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Gabby Barrett, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Kelsea Ballerini, and Darius Rucker with Lindsay Stirling. Rhett will be performing an original Christmas song called “Christmas In The Country,” which he released last year.

“I wrote it because we spend all our Christmases at our farm, and it truly is very magical,” said Rhett. “We get to see the barn lit up, we put a big Christmas tree in the barn, everything in that song is very autobiographical to what our Christmas looks like and we just love Christmas time and love getting to spend it in the country.”

Dan + Shay will also perform a recently-released original song called “Christmas Isn’t Christmas” and Florida Georgia Line will sing “Lit This Year,” a brand-new original Christmas song as well.

“We’ve never put out any Christmas music, we’ve always thought it could be cool to write something fun,” said FGL’s Tyler Hubbard. “BK [Brian Kelley] had this idea that we just put together, and it just turned out amazing. It was so much fun and it really just feels like an FGL Christmas song.”

The show will also feature traditional Christmas tunes with Little Big Town lending their harmonies to “Christmas Time Is Here.” Rucker and Stirling will collaborate on “What Child Is This?” and Barrett will be making her CMA Country Christmas debut with “The First Noel.”

“‘The First Noel’ is a song that’s very special to me and very familiar as well,” shared Barrett. “It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I connected with it from an early age, so I thought it would be really fun to make my own version of the song.”

Ballerini will take the CMA Country Christmas stage, which is set up to look like a house ornately decorated for the holidays, to sing her own rendition of “Santa Baby” and Tim McGraw will sing “It Wasn’t His Child.” Lady A will also deck the halls by performing “Wonderful Christmastime” and “Little Saint Nick,” two songs featured on the deluxe version of their On This Winter’s Night album.

“They’re just fun — both songs that we’ve added to the Deluxe version of on this winter’s night,” shared Lady A’s Hillary Scott. “Honestly the show, to me, it’s just such a perfect way to kick off the holiday season and we love Christmas songs and all the harmonies, especially these two particularly. The harmonies in these songs are just really fun for us to sing.”

Scott also says the show will have a “family vibe” due to Rhett and Akins hosting, and the couple shared that they are excited to host together.

“Just to be here experiencing this beautiful set, getting to see a bunch of our friends, getting to perform our favorite Christmas songs, and getting to host this together is going to be a blast,” said Rhett.

CMA Country Christmas airs on ABC on Monday, November 30 at 9pm (ET).

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