Husband and wife folk-pop duo, Jenny & Tyler, will release a new holiday album, Christmas Stories, Nov. 4, with pre-sale orders beginning Oct. 21. Produced by Ben Shive (Rend Collective, Brandon Heath, Andrew Peterson), the project features eight Christmas classics and one original song written by Jenny, Tyler, and Trent Monk, "Christmastime," which is the single going for adds at Christian radio on Nov. 24. Christmas Stories marks the first time the duo worked with Shive, and the end result is a jazz sound with a nostalgic feel that is reminiscent of Bing Crosby, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Swell Season. The record is being released by Centricity's new independent label, Residence Music, and will be distributed by Caroline/Capitol Music Group.
Q: Thank you so much for your time. Why did you decide to record a Christmas album?
A: You're welcome! We decided to record a Christmas album because throughout our lives Christmas songs, more than anything else, have helped us prepare for the season.
Q: How do you hope this new record will bless the lives of your fans and listeners?
A: We hope this record brings the listener back to a place of wonder. Christmas should evoke awe in us. As adults, we lose that. Children aren't caught up in the decorations, shopping, traveling plans, etc. They're kids. Their eyes are brighter and their hope is purer than most adults we know. We want people to find that kid in themselves again.
Q: I believe this is the first time you've worked with Ben Shive (Rend Collective, Brandon Heath) as producer. What does he bring to the album you appreciate?
A: This IS the first time we've worked with Ben Shive, and man, it was awesome! The biggest thing he brought to the project (besides his musical genius) was his gentle, caring, and truth-filled spirit. We felt so taken care of throughout the whole process and are proud to say we're now friends. He brought out the best in us and that's what a great producer should be able to do.
Q: Talk to us about the song "Christmastime." What inspired you to write this song?
A: We wrote 'Christmastime' with our friend Trent Monk. When I sat down, I had the verse melody already recorded in a voice memo on my phone and I knew that I wanted the song to be about awakening the childlike wonder that we used to feel at Christmastime. My dad's a jazz musician, so I started playing some of the chords I grew up hearing and the song flowed from there. The whole process was kind of magical and felt like receiving instead of digging to create the song.
Q: Speaking of Christmas stories, what's your favorite Christmas story?
A: Good question! We're not sure about our favorites, but here are at the top of the list:
(Jenny) We visited my grandparents in western New York every Christmas and there was always lots of snow on the ground. When I was about 10 years old, I got to go for a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh. There were sleigh bells! While recording 'White Christmas,' I was thinking about riding in that sleigh when I sang 'to hear sleigh bells in the snow.'
(Tyler) When I was six or seven years old, I remember lying in bed on Christmas Eve trying to go to sleep but way too excited. I don't know how my parents did it, but I really think I heard footsteps and sleigh bells coming from the roof. I knew that my parents ate the cookies we left out for Santa, but they are not super-adventurous people, so they definitely would not have climbed out on the roof to do that. To this day I'm baffled.
Q: This Fall you will be touring with Andrew Peterson on his Christmas tour. What can our listeners expect when they come out to see you?
A: We are so excited to be on Andrew's Behold The Lamb Of God Christmas Tour! The show is incredible and we're honored to be a part of it this year. If you've never seen it, it tells the story of Christmas in the most comprehensive way we've ever heard. There's even a super-fun bluegrassy song about the lineage of Christ. We're planning on playing a couple songs of our own and joining in with Andrew and the band for the 'Behold The Lamb of God' songs too.
Q: Where can our readers go to find out about your tour and music?
A: Thank you for asking about that! One of the best ways to find out more about us and get a free acoustic album is by joining our mailing list at jennyandtyler.com/free. The Christmas tour information is on our website too at jennyandtyler.com/tour.