Back in 2015, the multiplatinum country star LeAnn Rimes went back to a well she had successfully plumbed before. She released her second album of holiday music called “Today is Christmas,” somewhat belated follow up to her 2004 holiday album “What a Wonderful World.”
The centerpiece of her second Christmas album is a stunning medley of holiday favorites, including “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Angels We have Heard on High” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Rimes wraps up all three of these songs into a surprisingly dramatic arrangement that follows her passionate vocal performance through a series of melodic twists and turns that often put these venerable carols into new contexts.
The title of that epic track is simply “Joy,” and Rimes is sure to perform it when her “Joy: The Holiday Tour” hits the Peace Center in Greenville Dec. 19. Rimes will no doubt bring other classic Christmas tunes into the mix, including “Little Drummer Boy,” “Holly Joly Christmas” and more.
In a sense, the holiday-album market is just another genre that Rimes has mastered. Since breaking through with her album “Blue,” released in 1996 when Rimes was only 13 years old, the vocalist’s career skyrocketed both critically and commercially.
“She has superlative control over that big voice,” wrote Chrissie Dickinson of the Chicago Tribune, “a soaring instrument that can belt and whisper within the same song.”
At the age of 14, she was awarded the best new artist Grammy award, making her the youngest solo artist to win a Grammy. A year later, she took home the artist of the year award at the Billboard Music Awards. Fifteen of her singles have become top-10 hits, with “How do I Live” holding the No. 1 all-time spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 by a female artist.
Now, some 27 years later, Rimes is still evolving as an artist. Her new album “God’s Work’ — which she will play songs from during the Peace Center show — is an ambitious release that dramatically expands her musical style, and it features Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, Robert Randolph and many more artists from outside the country music mainstream.
Want to go?
Who: LeAnn Rimes presents “Joy: The Holiday Tour”
When: Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Peace Center, Greenville
Tickets and info: peacecenter.org