Oleta Adams – Christmas Time with Oleta

Christmas Time with Oleta
Oleta Adams
(Koch – 2006)

Oleta Adams would be perfectly content if Christmas lasted all year long. “The spirit of Christmas is where we’re supposed to be all the time. It keeps you in a wonderful state of happiness and health and joy,” she says. “Whenever you listen to Christmas songs, it takes you back to those very special moments when you are surrounded by family and friends. It brings out a childlike quality just by hearing those songs.”

Five years after her last full-length project, the multiple Grammy-nominated contralto singer/songwriter, Stellar Award and Dove Award nominee decks the seasonal halls with her first-ever holiday album, Christmas Time with Oleta, replete with beloved classics and a handful of personal favorites.

The 10-song set, to be released by KOCH Records on October 3, was produced by the artist, was recorded in Adams’ home studio—the Booth & the Cave—in Kansas City, where she has lived for most of her adult life. She arranged and plays the majority of the instruments, with husband John Cushon on percussion, along with a number of guest musicians, including Lonnie McFadden and Ronald McFadden, who added essential horn parts to two of the songs, and Greg Clark and Tammy Ward Clayton on backing vocals.

“I could roll out of bed and walk down to the recording studio. How can you beat that?” Adams says of recording at home. She adds, “Oh, I love it here. First, there’s more bang for the buck, but my husband is also from here. When my initial success happened, it made sense to be in the center-of the country, I’m from the state of Washington, and that– always meant it would take an extra day to get wherever I needed to be.” These days, Adams maintains a touring schedule that continuously takes her around the world. Year after year, she has shared her vivid versatility with a variety of audiences. With success at pop (first via her 1991 top 5 “Get Here,” deemed the unofficial anthem of the Gulf War), jazz, R&B and a deep spirituality that has aligned her within the gospel community, the performer upholds a reputation as a name-brand marquis entertainer.

“It’s been wonderful,” Adams says. “I’m on the road three weekends of every month, whether it’s a jazz festival in Germany, a salute to Gershwin at the Hollywood Bowl, a Billie Holiday tribute at Carnegie Hall, a church in Washington, D.C., or my own tour in Holland. Oh, yes, we stay busy.”