It’s a big band Christmas with Martina McBride

It’s a big band Christmas with Martina McBride
Photo: Joseph Llanes

Country music legend Martina McBride’s holiday show sparkles with nostalgia and Christmas classics.

The singer is currently on tour for her ninth annual “Joy of Christmas” show, and she’s wrapping up the decade with her biggest holiday spectacular yet. The singer has two Christmas albums that show her love for the most wonderful time of the year in very different styles. Her 2018 holiday record “It’s the Holiday Season” is a throwback to the peak of big band and swing, but with her own personal touch. McBride sat down with Metro to chat about making a Christmas album in the musical style she adores, her other plans while she’s in Philly and more.

It’s a big band Christmas with Martina McBride

Can you give us a sneak peak of what’s in store on Friday?

It’s really joyful and Christmas-y. I really love this show. We have a 16-piece band and six costume changes, so it’s a big evening. This is our ninth year doing this show and I think this is the best version so far.

You added the bigger band to change things up for this year. What influenced that decision?

Last year, I released an album called “It’s the Holiday Season.” It really has that swing or big band feel to it, like a classic Frank Sinatra record. Adding the horns brings tons of energy and allows us to play these songs in a truly classic way. I think people are surprised by how much sound there is. It’s also really nostalgic to hear that big band kind of vibe. You forget how it makes you feel until you hear it again.

How do you put your own spin on the classic Christmas songs?

I really love classic Christmas music so I don’t veer too far from that sound. I hired the amazing composer and arranger Patrick Williams to work on this album. I worked with him when I did a duet with Dean Martin for “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I love how he arranged music. He worked with Frank Sinatra and the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” so his arrangements are very cinematic. It’s like you can see everything happening, like those classic scenes of a woman getting out of a cab in New York on a wintry day. He’s responsible for how this record sounds and feels. It’s big and familiar, yet fresh.

Do you have any other plans during your short stop in Philly?

I’m definitely getting out to do some Christmas shopping. I am also doing something with my charity, Team Music is Love. In Philly, we are cooking at MANNA [Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance], a nonprofit organization with a commercial kitchen that cooks meals for people with special diets and health needs. So we are sponsoring that for a day and I’m going to stop by to tour the kitchen and meet everyone who makes these meals every day. Overall, I’m excited to bring the show to Philly and help everyone get in the Christmas spirit.

Other than your tour, what’s your favorite part about the holidays?

Just being with my family, and all my girls. My daughters are 25, 21 and 14. We get home from tour on the morning of the 22nd, so I’ll be ready for pajamas, cooking, and the fireplace.

See Martina McBride’s Joy of Christmas show at The Met on Saturday Dec. 13 starting at 8 p.m. Visit to purchase tickets and find more information.