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A McCrary Kind of Christmas Revives Its Holiday Spirit in East Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The McCrary Sisters' annual Christmas show - A McCrary Kind of Christmas - has become one of Nashville's much-loved holiday traditions for over a decade. A bunch of gifted guests including Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris and Margo Price joined the 2023 celebration that was held at Riverside Revival in Nashville, Tennessee on December 08, 2023. A McCrary Kind of Christmas raises money for causes close to their hearts. This year's concert proceeds went to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and to three local families.


The McCrary Sisters and Etta Britt in East Nashville.

The McCrary Sisters are a gospel group from Nashville - formed in 2010 by sisters Ann, Deborah (RIP), Freda and Regina. They are the daughters of a former Baptist preacher. So, their upbringing is reflected in their music. Their holiday show is about spreading joy during a season that can be difficult for many people. Freda and Ann started singing Christmas music together as children, with their late brother, Donald Ray McCrary who provided piano accompaniment. Thus, the sisters' annual concerts are a nod to the past paired with the present idea of giving back.

Etta Britt served as the evening's emcee. After a quick prayer the first number was a dance with lyrics that asked "Mary, Did You Know?" Next, the talented Travis Logan Unity Choir sang songs of faith. They were followed by the pairing of Emmylou Harris with Buddy Miller armed with acoustic guitars who presented "Angel Eyes" followed by a rather serious Christmas song penned by Steve Earle. Emmylou is well known for supporting good causes and the nonprofit that she founded - Bonaparte's Retreat has saved many dogs since 2004.


Margo Price, Gale Mayes and Charles Esten helped make this a memorable night.

Etta joined the sisters for a powerful yet pretty version of "O Holy Night". Then, Will Barrow with Dave Pomeroy played a musical prayer for peace. Danny and Mabel Flowers presented a soft song declaring that all I want is Jesus. On a funnier note, the next number was a dance routine where the performer insisted that the lyrics were hopping around the Christmas tree which she was doing in an animated fashion that prompted a surprise appearance from Charles Esten. Next, vocalist Gale Mayes in a jazzy-blues blend shared her take on Rudolph. Margo Price with her husband Jeremy Ivey on harmonica chose to cover John Prine's "All The Best".

The McCrary Sisters with their band sang and testified about Jesus. The high point for us was their version of "Amazing Grace" sung to the music of "House of the Rising Sun" - it really was passionate as was "Joy To The World". Next, family members joined the fun with some of the youngest McCrarys singing lead on classics such as "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" to end the festivities on a fun note.

Says Buddy Miller, "I always look forward to A McCrary Kind Of Christmas. It's like a great family reunion with the best music. Their giving hearts and love for people overflows from the stage. A partnership with St Jude's makes the evening even more meaningful. The McCrary Sisters bring joy to the world and are a treasure."


Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris joined in the celebration.

Says Doug Hall, of Big Feat PR "We are honored to be helping the McCrary Sisters, making sure this event is the biggest of the holiday season. The McCrary Sisters are Nashville music icons but the work they do to help others is also truly remarkable. Raising funds and attention for St Jude's is absolutely vital, who provide support for families in the most drastic of need. I implore anyone who can, to buy a ticket and get involved."

Riverside Revival is a part of the broader Boedecker Foundation Collaborative Campus which sits on 2.5 acres centrally located at the intersection of Porter and Riverside in Nashville, Tennessee. Riverside Revival is a world-class concert and event venue that can also be used for corporate gatherings, parties or wedding receptions. The vintage stained-glass windows, chandeliers and balcony seats from the original 1951 church construction provide classic accents to the contemporary feel of this renovated space that also has a best-in-class audio visual system which the McCrarys utilized for their holiday show.


The McCrary Sisters sounding glorious at Riverside Revival.

Related Links: For more information on the McCRARY SISTERS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - McCrary Sisters | St. Jude Children's Research Hospital | The McCrary Sisters Get Back to Work in Madison | Riverside Revival


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