Holiday music for every stocking you need to stuff

It never fails. Every year you work and slave planning every detail of your perfect family holiday celebration. You deck the halls with every bough of holly you can find, mistletoe over every doorway, tree covered perfectly with tinsel and ornaments you meticulously selected one by one.

Gifts are neatly arranged underneath carefully wrapped with care and specifically tagged indicating each and every aunt, uncle, child and grandparent. Then, as if on cue, your son arrives with his “special friend” from school or you somehow managed to leave out a cousin or three. What is there to do but go out and get last minute gifts for the unforeseen and disruptive arrivals into your perfect holiday?

But what? Well, almost as certain as the unexpected arrival is Christmas CD’s that come out in droves every year. Think about it. Christmas albums are inexpensive and universal enough that any Johnny-come-lately holiday crasher will appreciate the fact that you seemingly pulled a gift for them out of thin air. All that and they have years’ worth of re-usage value unlike the pack of underwear you give your son every year.  This year, I have chosen the best of the offerings to help solve your gifting dilemma.

Tracy Lawrence – All Wrapped Up In Christmas
“I’ve been trying to do a Christmas record for several years,” country music superstar Tracy Lawrence told O&AN during a recent chat, “and it seems like every time I got on the verge of making it something would happen.”

Well, he finally got the chance to record the album and wow! Who knew that a country Christmas could sound so cool?

“I wanted to make a different album than my usual offerings,” Lawrence continued, “It really stretched me vocally. It’s a lot slicker than my country stuff because there is this real method to what we do for the radio. I really just wanted to step outside of the box a bit and push myself.”

Given that Lawrence is a connoisseur of all kinds of music, that feel lies in the sweet spot where country, jazz and classic pop come together in a place that fully captures all of the well-loved magic of Christmas. He and Julian King, with whom he co-produced the project, pulled the best from all three traditions in assembling an album that is as engaging as it is uplifting. With three new tunes and a number of covers of classic Christmas songs, this is the perfect Christmas album for that special country music fan in your life.

Mindy Smith – My Holiday
Recorded in Nashville and produced by Mindy Smith with Steve Buckingham, “My Holiday” is an 11-song collection that features six original tunes written and co-written by Mindy including “Come Around," Santa Will Find You," "Follow the Shepherd Home” and the title track. “My Holiday” also features such classic Christmas recordings as “Away in the Manger” with Alison Krauss on harmony vocals, “The Christmas Song," ”Silver Bells” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas."

Olivia Newton-John – Christmas Wish
The four-time, Grammy-Award winner returns with a beautiful holiday CD featuring 12 glorious vocals and ten musical interludes as well as performances by Grammy winners and nominees Barry Manilow, Michael McDonald, Jon Secada, David Foster and Jim Brickman to name a few. The album is full to the brim with her signature plush vocals and arrangements of classic holiday favorites as well as new songs written by Olivia and her producer Amy Sky.

Home For Christmas: Voices From the Heartland  
From the Western swing of Riders in the Sky to the Memphis R&B of Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) to the Missouri bluegrass of Rhonda Vincent to the New Orleans gospel of Irma Thomas, "Home For Christmas" is chock full of soulful interpretations of holiday classics.

Whether you love uptown blues or downtown country, you’ll find the heart of American music in these grooves.

Happy Holidays and happy listening!

Photo courtesy of Jose Cuervo

2023 Reserva de la Familia Limited Edition Terceerunquinto

On January 10, 2023, Reserva de la Familia, Jose Cuervo’s ultra-premium collection of artisanal small-batch tequilas and Mexico’s crown jewel, announced its 2023 collector’s box, designed by artists Rolando Flores and Gabriel Cázares of the Mexico-based Tercerunquinto Collective. The piece of custom art, titled “Structuring a Landscape”, features a geometric abstraction of the landscape of Tequila, Mexico and will adorn the 2023 limited-release collector’s box of Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo.

Since 1995, Jose Cuervo has worked with internationally recognized artists with roots in Mexico to design the box artwork for Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo. Each box is an authentic collector’s item, with a limited quantity produced annually before a new artist is chosen. Previous artists include Gonzalo Lebrija, Pedro Friedeberg, Carlos Aguirre, Ricardo Pinto and many more. Every artist is selected by a team of art curators including 11th generation Cuervo family member and CEO of Jose Cuervo, Juan Domingo Beckmann, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio in New York City, Patrick Charpenel and founder of Zona Maco, Mexico’s number one art fair, Zélika García.

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Photo courtesy of Velvet Ibiza

Velvet Ibiza

Every year, Ibiza is home to Europe’s very epic queer woman’s party, Velvet Ibiza, which is celebrating its 7th anniversary and promises to be next level. Velvet Ibiza is an all-inclusive 5-day and 5-night party and includes transportation from the airport, a bungalow, 3 meals, and activities and parties day and night, and drinks until around 10:30 pm.

This year, international crowds of LGBTQ+ women will be attending Velvet Ibiza on May 2 - 7 to celebrate life, belonging, and freedom. Event organizers have rented an entire resort in order to build a community vibe and allow queer women to connect so there’s no reason to go anywhere unless of course, you want to go shopping, head to the beach, or explore the island.

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Financial Planning for the LGBTQ+ community

The new year has arrived. For many people, that means making resolutions and thinking of ways they can do better in the coming year and beyond. Money management and financial planning are often very popular resolutions and goals, but most financial advice tends to be aimed at heterosexual couples who want to grow their family and raise children.

But, what if your life goals are different? What if you don’t receive the same protection under the current laws as hetero couples?
What if you don’t want to have kids?

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