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LeAnn Rimes' <i> What a Wonderful World</i> Gives Old Christmas Standards New Spin

  • Mary Morningstar

LeAnn Rimes is known around the world as one of America's biggest Country stars. But, the 22-year-old Texan moved in a different musical direction for her first holiday album. Rimes retained the traditional sound of the standards she included on What A Wonderful World.

The Louis Armstrong classic "What A Wonderful World" is one of eight classics on LeAnn Rimes' new album of the same name. Also included are such holiday favorites as "White Christmas," "The Christmas Song" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." Many of the songs feature a big band sound provided by members of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. One example is LeAnn's jazzy version of the Brenda Lee holiday standard, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

LeAnn's been making hit records since she was 13-years-old. So, why did she wait so long to record a holiday collection? "I'd been waiting for me to be a little bit older because my voice was changing so much," she says. "I'm glad I waited because I wanted it to be something I could be proud of for the rest of my life."

In addition to the holiday classics, What A Wonderful World contains three tracks LeAnn wrote with her two producers and her husband of nearly three years, Dean Sheremet. They include the bluesy "Just Love Me."

A portion of the proceeds from sales of What A Wonderful World will benefit afterschool children's programs. Rimes teamed with the JC Penney department store, which will donate the profits from the stores' sales of the CDs to five of America's leading child care organizations, including YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs.

LeAnn's future projects include writing children's books and hosting the third season of the televised Country talent competition "Nashville Star." Her next studio album, This Woman, will be released on January 25. In the meantime, she's performing a holiday tour to promote her latest CD, What A Wonderful World.

LeAnn co-wrote the album's current single, which addresses America's grief following the 2001 terrorist attacks.