With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving looming, Rock Hall of Famer Dion returns yet again, this time with two brand new holiday themed tracks. The new songs, “Hello Christmas” and “You Know It’s Christmas,” are out this month through KTBA (Keeping The Blues Alive) Records, the label founded by Joe Bonamassa and his management team. KTBA released Dion’s Blues With Friends, a massively successful album that has occupied the #1 slot on Billboard Blues Chart numerous times since its release this past June.
As with Blues With Friends, the new tracks find Dion joined by top-flight artists in support of his efforts. Released on Friday 13 November 2020, “Hello Christmas” features backing vocals by six-time GRAMMY® winner Amy Grant while Joe Bonamassa joins Dion on “You Know It’s Christmas”, released on Friday 20 November 2020. The two sides are reflective of the versality Dion has evinced as a multi-format singer and songwriter over the course of his phenomenal career that has spanned seven decades.
Both of the new songs were written by Dion along with Mike Aquilina who co-wrote many of songs that are heard on Blues With Friends. Dion revealed the impetus for following up that album with “Hello Christmas.” “I was talking with a friend about how the world this year can use a little life-giving love and harmony. I told him that Christmas was the grace that changed my life and that I was looking forward to a shot of that this year. The next day I got together with Mike and I picked up the guitar, started singing and words started to flow. Later I was walking with my buddy [and co-writer] Steve Bottari and he started singing along – with some new words. The song just seemed to write itself, a gift to finish off this challenging year. From the start I heard Amy Grant’s voice on it; she just sounds like Christmas to me. I sent the track to her and she fell in love with it and added a beautiful counter-melody which makes it really sublime.”
Amy Grant commented “I was so happy to join my old friend Dion on ‘Hello Christmas.’ The song makes me smile every time I hear it.”
“As far as “ You Know It’s Christmas” is concerned, Dion commented, “Blues is my home and I wanted to write a Christmas song with that feeling. Mike suggested a ‘brag blues’ [in the tradition of “The Wanderer”] so we thought what would a bluesman brag about at Christmas? How he bought just the right gift for his girl and how she’s going to love it! Christmas is all about giving and I think the song catches that vibe perfectly. Joe Bonamassa gave me a great Christmas present by playing lead on it.”
Bonamassa remarked, “It is always an honor to play alongside Dion, he is a National Treasure!”
Blues With Friends offered thirteen original songs with Dion joined by a wide range of friends and admirers including Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Brian Setzer, Sonny Landreth, Samantha Fish, John Hammond Jr., Joe Louis Walker, Rory Block , Jimmy and Jerry Vivino, vintage guitar guru Joe Menza as well as icons Stevie Van Zandt, Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Paul Simon and, as mentioned, Joe Bonamassa.
“When the blues hit, this album can get you through.” – The i
“Dion’s voice, that high tenor of quite extraordinary sensitivity and timbre, is as compelling as ever.” – ★★★★☆ Metro
“While it’s all blue-noted, it’s no cliched re-do – this fresh, contemporary American music and Dion’s throat is still golden despite the mileage.” – ★★★★☆ MOJO
“Aside from its starry cast, the most remarkable feature of Blues With Friends is Dion’s voice. Suitably weathered by age and experience, it’s hardly gathered rust and has retained a lustrous power and soulful richness.” – Classic Rock
“Simply sensational.” – Blues Matters
“Yet despite the glittering talent, it’s the 80-year old’s timeless vocals that shine through all 14 original tracks.” – ★★★★☆ London Evening Standard