We have watched Thomas Rhett evolve in the last ten years from being an opening act with a cheeky charm and a few good songs, into a true entertainer and headliner. After his steady upward trajectory before the pandemic, his popularity has soared following it as he went full throttle on releasing music and touring and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
With the announcement that Rhett would not only appear, but headline Country 2 Country Festival in March, the UK country contingency was delighted that one of their favourites had completed that climb to the top. Meanwhile, back home in the States, Rhett was wrapping up an energetic tour whilst preparing for the release of the ‘Where We Started’ music video with Katy Perry. As well as the album of the same name, Rhett found time to record and release a Christmas record with a big band arrangement. That’s where we pick up.
“That was so much fun to get in there and record just like, Sinatra would have done it, with a big horn section, a big string section, very big band style,” he gushes, a smile spreading across his face. “We recorded all the songs with no click, no metronome, exactly like how they would have done it in the 50’s. When I think of Christmas music, there are definitely certain modern songs that I do love. But Christmas is our jam. My wife and I light it up at Christmas, you can see it on Google Maps! We love old school Christmas songs, so when choosing these tracks, the focus track, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ is hands down my favourite Christmas song of all time.”
Even when it came to planning the visuals, Rhett wanted to stick to the era in which he was emulating. “We wanted it to feel very old, very classic, even in the videos – they’re black and white and grainy like an episode of Andy Griffith or something. I’m such an old soul at heart and I wanted to do the songs justice by making them feel classic and making them feel timeless.”
Rhett enjoyed the process and the sound which he created so much, that he’s been considering where that instrumentation may lend itself in his own original material. “I’ve thought about it a lot, especially over this tour, because we had a couple of horn players in 2019, on the road with us, and it was just such a blast every night just to watch them do their thing. To watch how unique that was presented to the crowd, they’d get out there and take a sax solo or a trumpet solo, and you could just see the fans being like, I have to move right now.” The crowd enjoyed this side to his music and Rhett enjoys experimenting sonically, but ultimately is drawn to what serves the song best.
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Zoe Hodges, Editor