In the sweltering summer heat of 1960, legendary singer Patsy Cline’s thoughts were turned toward much cooler days. The country diva was in a holiday mood and wanted to record a Christmas song to add to her growing repertoire.
She felt the best songwriters for the job were Lawton Jiles and Buster Beam, who had written her Top-10 hit “Let The Teardrops Fall.” The team went to work immediately and penned “Christmas Without You.”
Patsy went crazy for it and took it to her record label representatives. They loved it too, but had other ideas for the catchy tune. At the time, they were looking for Patsy’s next single. They thought the melody of the Jiles-Beam creation had hit potential. So they asked the writers if they would pen new lyrics for the song with a non-holiday theme.
Jiles and Beam quickly came up with new words and the title “How Can I Face Tomorrow?” The song was released within a few weeks, but despite heavy television and radio promotion, it only made a modest showing on the Cashbox Country Charts.
“I’ve always believed if Patsy would have recorded ‘Christmas Without You’ it would have become a holiday standard,” said Jiles. “It’s the kind of Christmas song you hear once and want to sing along. It’s very simple, but the simple songs are usually the ones people love the most.”
Jiles said he and Patsy were extremely disappointed “Christmas Without You” wasn’t recorded in its original form. He hoped another artist would record it someday.
Fifty years later, Jiles finally got his wish. Patsy’s lost Christmas classic has been recorded for the world to enjoy, courtesy of Grammy-balloted, award-winning recording artist Luanne Hunt. Hunt’s rendition of “Christmas Without You” will bring a tear to the eye of every Patsy Cline fan, reminding them of how much she wanted to give them a musical gift for the holidays.
"Luanne's angelic voice brings Patsy's song from attic shadows to a yuletide hearth,” said Alexandra Lajoux, president and founder of American Classic Recordings. “It's a Christmas present to all of us."
“Christmas Without You” was produced by Eric Uglum (Alison Krauss, Ron Block, Ralph Stanley, Cherryholmes and Nickel Creek). It features an impressive twin-fiddle performance by 16-year-old sensation Christian Ward, who has shared the stage with Ricky Skaggs and Sierra Hull. Also on the record are Austin Ward (upright bass), Roger Gillespie (drums), Hal Ratliff (keyboards) and Uglum (guitar, mandolin and harmony vocals).
“I got a rush when I first heard Luanne’s recording of ‘Christmas Without You,’” said Jiles. “The song’s been in my head for years and to hear it done the way I always envisioned it is very exciting. It’s a perfect blend of the traditional and the contemporary.”
“Christmas Without You” is included on Hunt’s new six-song holiday EP “How Christmas Feels To Me” on the American Classic Recordings label. To hear more tracks from the EP or to purchase your copy, go to www.luannehunt.com or www.myspace.com/luanneschristmascd.