LeAnn Rimes began her career at a tender age as a country prodigy before propelling herself to pop superstardom by the late 1990s, still in her teens. Therefore, it's rather fitting for her to open her first Christmas record, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, with "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," a song made famous by Brenda Lee, another singer beloved by fans of country and pop alike. Rimes takes a slightly jazzier, horn-fueled approach to the tune, while paying homage to Lee in her vocals.
Rimes follows this classic with a new carol she co-wrote, the sweet ballad "A Different Kind of Christmas," showing her oneness with the spirit of the holiday. In fact, Rimes adds three new offerings to the canons of Yuletide lore, all filled with the earnest joy of a child descending the stairs at dawn to the scent of chestnuts and holly. She also plays her hand ably on enduring classics, wrapping her voice in a country-tinged arrangement of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," while approaching "The Christmas Song" with appropriate subtlety. Rimes also knows when to rein in her voice, allowing the beauty of the title track to come through.