Brett Eldredge’s fans who know him for hits like “Wanna Be That Song,” “Drunk on Your Love” and “Don’t Ya” might be surprised to see his name in a list including crooners such as Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble — a list that ultimately stretches back decades.
But that is the company Eldredge puts himself in with his Christmas album, “Glow.” The fiddles and pedal steel have been put in storage for the holidays in favor of a horn section, cocktail piano, cool percussion, and vocals with nary a hint of twang. I’m seeing Brett’s name on one of those big band music stands.
The name this album will probably most bring to mind is Frank Sinatra, as Eldredge’s intonation often tracks closest to the master of interpretation, particularly in his warm rendition of “The Christmas Song” or leading a big arrangement of “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.”
The album gives us the impression Eldredge has had this brand of Christmas album in mind for years, and even if this is a style he has learned by nothing more than osmosis, he has learned it well.
Settling in nicely among the classics is the title tune and lone new song, co-authored by Eldredge and Ross Copperman, who also wrote several of the singer’s country hits, including “Beat of the Music” and “Lose My Mind.” “Glow” could easily outdistance them as a catchy, fresh tune that may wind up on numerous Christmas albums going forward. It is sort of the essence of what Eldredge seems to have gone for on this album: something timeless and classically American.
In an interview on SiriusXM Volume, and elsewhere, Eldredge hinted at maybe wanting to take a crack at the larger American songbook. It may not be what the Red, White & Boom audience is looking for when Eldredge visits Lexington for the big country fest next Labor Day weekend. But this is a voice you could imagine bringing classics to a new generation, the way Connick’s “When Harry Met Sally” took my generation by surprise. That’s not a bad moonlighting gig.