It makes total sense that the East Tennessee native loves the song so much. It’s the perfect illustration of the environment that molded and shaped him, set against the backdrop of the most festive and nostalgic time of year.
“Growing up in the South, I can just remember hearing that a lot,” Chesney said. “I mean every Christmas, you heard Alabama. You heard Randy Owen singing ‘Christmas in Dixie.’ It’s just one of those songs that my hometown radio station played every year. I always remember loving that song.”
Once he got into the music business, Chesney became friends with Owen and his Alabama bandmates. In fact, Owen provided guest vocals when Chesney recorded a version of “Christmas in Dixie” for his 2003 album, All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan.
“They just mean so much to me,” Chesney said. “And to have Randy come in and lend his voice to one of my records was just an awesome feeling — something I will be able to have forever. It’s pretty cool.”
Talk about a holiday dream come true. A part of me wonders if Chesney still feels that childlike wonder when he hears the classic tune now or if he simply thinks, “There are my good friends, Alabama.”
My guess is the former. At Christmastime, we all become children again. That’s the magic of the season and its music — and something tells me Chesney wouldn’t have it any other way.