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Chris Isaak talks about his new holiday album and tour

Platinum-selling artist Chris Isaak chatted about his new holiday album “Everybody Knows It’s  Christmas” and tour.

Chris Isaak
Chris Isaak. Photo Courtesy of Chris Isaak
Chris Isaak. Photo Courtesy of Chris Isaak

Platinum-selling artist Chris Isaak chatted about his new holiday album “Everybody Knows It’s Christmas” and his upcoming tour dates.

His latest holiday studio offering was released via Sun Records/Virgin UMG.  The album features 13 tracks of originals and covers including his new original track “Almost Christmas,” all paying tribute to the iconic Sun Records’ aesthetic.

On the song selection process, Isaak said, “I wrote a bunch of Christmas songs and my manager told me to stop writing Christmas songs, I was having a ball doing it. I wanted to pick some classics that I’ve always listened to or wanted to sing. Dave Cobb produced ‘O Holy Night’ and I actually had fun singing that.”

A vinyl edition of the album as well as the CD will be released on November 18th.

“Everybody Knows” It’s Christmas is Isaak’s second career holiday album since his chart-topping 2004 “Christmas” on Warner Bros. Records. 

Isaak will support the album with the “Everybody Knows It’s Christmas” Tour kicking off the day after Thanksgiving on November 25th in Lexington, Massachusetts. “I am excited about the tour,” he admitted. “Most my life I’ve been touring ever since my early 20s. You start to feel like an old sailor, where you are used to the pattern that you are in town for a week or two, and you feel that this is ‘great’ but then you go: ‘When do we out on the sea again?’ I love being on tour. I’ve had the same band forever, so it’s like going out with your friends to have fun,” he said.

Speaking of touring, he noted that he enjoyed performing at The Paramount on Long Island over the years. “I have nothing but good memories on Long Island,” he said.

“The holidays are such a special time for me and the pandemic left us all so isolated. I felt like a holiday album was a great opportunity to bring people together this year.  I had so much fun making this album and designing the cover,” Isaak said.

“It was a joy to work with Dave Cobb and we worked in his iconic RCA studio where John Prine had placed a year-round Christmas tree to keep the holidays alive. I loved that idea so I’m going to keep that spirit alive,” he elaborated.

Over the course of his three-decade career, platinum-selling and Grammy-nominated singer and actor Chris Isaak has performed to sold-out crowds across the globe with his longtime band Silvertone.

His music and film credits include nine critically acclaimed studio albums, and 12 chart-topping singles along with several motion pictures, such as The Silence of the Lambs and That Thing You Do!

His work has also taken him behind the scenes, creating music for multiple film soundtracks, including Eyes Wide Shut, True Romance, Wild at Heart, and Blue Velvet

Isaak has starred in his own critically acclaimed television series The Chris Isaak Show on Showtime, has previously served as a judge on The X Factor Australia, and hosted the music talk show, The Chris Isaak Hour. “We had a lot of fun doing that,” he said about his show on Showtime.

“I still keep in touch with some of the people that were on that show with us, and I would love to do another one about musicians as they are getting older. I think that would be funny,” he added.

2019 marked the 30th Anniversary of Isaak’s beloved Heart-Shaped World album, which includes his breakthrough classic “Wicked Game.” Isaak was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance by the Americana Honors.

From his musical catalog, he claimed “Wicked Game” as his personal favorite tune. “I never get tired of singing that, I love singing that,” he said. “I wish I had 15 others like it, then I would be Paul McCartney,” he added with a sweet laugh.

“It’s still fun for me to sing, and I feel like I got better at singing it over the years. It’s fun for me to hear other people do versions of it. I’ve heard a lot of great versions of it,” he added.

On being an artist in the digital age, Isaak said, “The way people get their music delivered is getting better and better. It used to be really hard to find things, especially if things were obscure you couldn’t find them at all at your local record shop. Now, you can just about find anything. As a musician, I am lucky that I have an established audience and they know what I do and what to look for.”

“It’s always fun when we play live because a big amount of your audience drove along to your show. My challenge is to make sure they have a fun time, and I think my band does that, and everybody is having fun,” he added.

Regarding the title of the current chapter of his life, Isaak responded, “I wanted to put out an album called ‘Chris Isaak — The Bad Years’. It’s always hard to figure out where you are in the book of your life because you don’t know where the ending is going to be.”

“For me, so far, it has been a wonderful life and I can’t complain,” he said. “I’ve got to work with great musicians such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. It has been a dream life since I came from a small town and these are all of my heroes.”

Isaak continued, “I feel I am on the field playing baseball with my heroes, and I ask myself: ‘how did this happen?’ To be able to play with Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis, I have no complaints there. I felt that John Prine was taken too soon from us by COVID, I think we would have had fun working together. Onward we go.”

If he were to have any superpower, it would be “to turn back time.”

On his definition of success, Isaak said, “Success is entirely based on the people that are in your life.”

“Everybody Knows It’s Christmas” is available on digital service providers by clicking here. “Hopefully, people can put this on in the background while they are eating their Christmas dinner. It is fun and upbeat enough to be happy to listen to, and it has pretty songs so that it’s not jarring,” he said.

To learn more about veteran actor and musician Chris Isaak, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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