• NEW SOUNDS FOR THE SEASON
By Jane Bokun of Gannett Papers
If you're tired of the endless repetitions of "White Christmas" that will be sure to come your way this Christmas, something new and fresh just came on the market. Beverly Egan Houston has executive produced "Greater Than That." The CD feature 14 new or little known Christmas songs. Poignant and bluesy tunes such as "Holiday Love" and "Give Myself Away" set the tone for a unique, yet unforgettable holiday album. The song "Christmastime in Texas" mixes a Cajun beat with upbeat vocals that can be hummed for years to come. As a bonus, some of the album's songs are creatively unusual with titles like "Christmas Time Again at Neiman Marcus and "Elvis Has Been Sighted at the North Pole.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS: Song by Song
1 Elvis Has Been Sighted at the North Pole
Born of true Cajun parents , Joe Auenson (Ahn’-sun) cut his musical teeth in the South Louisiana dance halls and on the old Bossier City Strip, often rubbing shoulders and sharing rides on the Southern circuit with then emerging Elvis Presley. Whether he is singing a song, raising his clarinet, or blowing his sax, Joe's animated performances with his band Crawfish delights audiences and brands him an original!
2 Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men
Soul singing isn't the sort of thing that anyone can just learn - either it's there, or it isn't. And it doesn't take too long to realize that Miki Honeycutt has soul to spare.
Honeycutt's background, surprisingly was not the typical Southern musical upbringing. Born in Oakland, California, she grew up with Top 40 hits, became a "hippie girl-singer" and worked for a while in a Reno show band in the classic lounge setting. Hardly the background you'd expect of a soul singer.
It wasn't until she moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where she eventually wound up singing with the group A- Train, that Honeycutt finally took to the blues. "I wasn't exactly a blues buff" she later told the Dallas Observer. "I like somebody who's really been through a lot ... If the music comes from the heart, I'm a sucker for it."
From the liner notes of Honeycutt's Soul Deep recording on Rounder. J.D. Considine, Contributing editor, Musician magazine; pop music critic, Baltimore Sun
3 Holiday Love
Annagrey Labasse, a music professional for most of her life, enjoys working as a first-call vocalist providing the most in-demand radio IDs nationwide. Recently she appeared on "The Oprah Show" as one of the Pop Star Finalists and released her own self-penned CD, "No Sleep Tonight".
Her performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" for teams in national leagues is one of the most impressive renditions to be heard." Bev Houston, Producer
Bruce Wermuth is not only a talented vocalist who has sung on thousands of commercials; his career has included studio and live performances as a lead and jazz trumpet player for jazz bands, Broadway shows and notable entertainers such as Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Bob Hope, Henry Mancini, and the list goes on. Bruce is now an independent music producer residing serving the music industry internationally in a variety of capacities including composer, arranger, songwriter, studio vocalist, conductor, and trumpet player.
4 Silent Night Without You
Jeanie Perkins is a Mobile Bay Area musician and singer-songwriter. Up until her recent relocation to the tropical shores of Mobile Bay, Jeanie performed regularly in the Dallas area. Having grown up on the New Orleans north shore, Jeanie performed throughout Louisiana as a teenager. After moving to Denton, Texas to attend the prestigious music school at University of North Texas, she earned a Bachelors Degree in Music Composition. She remained in Dallas for many years, working extensively in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Los Angeles, and Nashville.
As keyboardist for the Los Angeles-based rock band "Jump in the Water", Jeanie assisted them in acquiring recording contracts with MCA Records and Polygram.
Meanwhile, back in Texas, she was a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1996 & 1997, and she was invited to perform with Rod Kennedy, founder and producer of the Kerrville Folk Festival, on the opening night of his tour promoting his book that chronicles his experiences with the festival Jeanie is also a winner of the B.W. Stevenson Songwriting Competition at the legendary Poor David's Pub.
5 Greater Than That
"Seldom does a voice bring the multidimensional sound from the past to the present with the same eloquence as the vibrant voice of WT Greer. His ability to cross styles and periods in music is unsurpassed by mainstream contemporary vocalists" ESI Entertainment's Mark Smith
6 Christmastime In Texas
Sonny Burgess, a native Texan from Cleburne, delivers his own brand of traditional country music. Sonny's sound is adored by his legion of fans, who return again and again to hear him on his ever expanding tour dates in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, Colorado,
at the Cowboys Game
and, of course, Texas, where his sound originates and his heart will always remain. All look forward to his next release due in early '05.
Lantana is a blend of 3 women, Lisa, Biz and Karol Ann. As they entertain you with their energetic style, each takes the lead at different times. As a result, each song on their first release, Life is Good has a different flair because of the difference in their voices.
7 I'm Going to Love Christmas
Julie Johnson, who gave her first performance at the age of three says, "I never thought of any pursuit other than music and performing." After earning a theater arts degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, Julie began making her mark on Broadway, Off-Broadway, film and television, as well as in regional theater, On top of all that, Julie has released two country albums.
Sold-out shows and a growing fan base have caught the ear of critics. Show Business Magazine says, "Johnson has an astonishing vocal instrument. It's a honey-colored, full-bodied dramatic mezzo." Billboard writes, "This is a voice that demands your attention." The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says, "Hers is a rich and powerful voice over which she has complete control."
8 Give Myself Away
BENITA ARTERBERRY BURNS
Benita Arterberry Burns is a veteran in the commercial industry for radio and television and a prize winning artist who's vocal stylings have won her an Emmy Award and Cleo Awards . She was also one of the first artists to reach national prominance on KTVT'S "Star Search.
She recently released the inspirational CD, "My Walk, His Way" and continues to produce stage & studio productions with her company; "LADY B. PRODUCTIONS" as she has done for the past 15 years.
Benita's goal is to reach a variety of God's people with the message of having faith in God and a stronger Christian walk toward and among the brethren.
Presently she can be seen weekly on "DayStar / Channel 2" the International Christian Network, as an associate and featured member of the praise team called "The DayStar Singers"
9 Christmas Time Again at Neiman Marcus
Jeff Oxley, who is in demand as a studio vocalist in the Dallas jingle community, is a frequent soloist and bass section leader with the renowned Vocal Majority. Oxley owns two barbershop quartet gold medals, winning with the Rapscallions in 1984 and Acoustix in 1990, five gold medals with the Vocal Majority, and one gold medal as musical director of California's Masters of Harmony Chorus.
10 Long Distance Christmas Duet
Cyndi King began singing and performing as a young girl with her family, touring Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Through the years, she has been a regular soloist for Christian television from California to Texas, and she both sings and appears on camera with Joni Lamb during the opening credits of the "Joni Lamb" talk show broadcast daily.
Cyndi's voice narrates the “Dead Sea Scrolls to the Forbidden Book” Audio Tour that accompanies the museum exhibit now making its way across the U.S. Most recently, Cyndi recorded vocals for The Snugeldorfs, Smile God Loves You, a children’s Read Along CD, for which she wrote the lyrics. She also sings regularly on the worship team at River of Glory Church.
W. T. Greer also sang "Greater Than That" on this CD; Read about him there.
11 Red Christmas
JEANIE PERKINS also sang "Silent Night without You" on this CD. Read about her there.
12 Another Christmas With You Duet
Steve Archer, together with family members Tim and Janice comprised one of the pioneers of Contemporary Christian Music, The ARCHERS. They toured extensively both in the U.S. and abroad, performing for President and Mrs. Carter at the White House, and appearing on many television shows, including the Jerry LEWIS Telethon, the Easter Seals Telethon, America's Music, The Mike Douglas Show and peaking with their own half hour television show produced and aired by Trinity Broadcasting Network.
After 13 albums, a Grammy Award and two Grammy Award telecast appearances with the Archers, Steve released solo albums that garnered him number 1 position on the CCM Charts, and a number 2 with his duet with Marilyn McCoo, "Safe." Not surprisingly, Steve is still booking up to 200 appearances a year.
Born in Louisiana, Kathy grew up in Dallas where she graduated Valedictorian from the prestigious Arts Magnet High School. She worked her way through UT in Austin as a studio singer and church soloist and backing up nationally known children’s artist Joe Scruggs on albums.
Today, Kathy is a studio singer, live performer and voice-over talent in Dallas, recording for such clients as Pepsi, Kodak, Coors Light and Bassett Furniture
13 My Favorite Christmas Story
"It doesn't take long after rooting around the annals of Louisiana music to realize swamp popper Warren Storm (Godfather of Swamp Pop) has been a legend practically forever." Always one of Louisiana's favorite sons, he charted nationally and sold a quarter million copies in his 1958 debut with the magnificent "Prisoner's Song." From a review in Offbeat Magazine by Don Willging
14 My Top Ten
JULIE JOHNSON also sang "I'm Going to Love Christmas". Read about her there.