William Shatner‘s latest album, Shatner Claus: A Christmas Album, is out and Shatner told fans what to expect and how he chose the songs on the album.
Shatner’s album is different because “some of our songs are classics not done in a particularly classic way,” he said. “I’ve bent the traditional songs a little bit and had fun with them.”
When asked if his music was more like reading poetry than singing, Shatner said, “What I’ve been doing for many years now is trying to find the music in the language and blending that musical part of the language to go along with the melodic line of the song that’s written. So if it’s a good lyric, the lyric itself suggests a song, and if you’re dealing with a melody, then we have an interesting combination that’s quite different.”
Shatner chose his songs “by lyric or by familiarity. There are two major pieces in the album,” he said. “One is a poem by a veteran who came back bruised by battle. He had written a large number of poems. When he had written a large number of songs about the torture of battle, I said, ‘This could make a one-man show. Can you write me something about before you went into the Marines and now that you’re out of the Marines?’ He couldn’t. And then I said, ‘Could you write a Christmas song?’ and he wrote a Christmas song about what it’s like to be overseas and wondering how it is back home. It’s a beautiful poem. We set it to music, and it’s one of the major pieces in the album; the other is the Christmas story, which we set to music.”
Choosing the others contributing to the album was not difficult for Shatner. “This is not my first album, and over the years a lot of really terrific musicians have appreciated the fact that I’m searching for the way to fuse words to music,” he said. “Some of them heard that I was making an album and said, ‘I’d like to be part of it.’ So I’m very appreciative of these great musicians lending their talents.”
Shatner has his own favorites when it comes to Christmas albums. “Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole are certainly wonderful ones to turn up during the Christmas season, absolutely,” he said.
The album, which costs 14.98 on CD, $9.49 on MP3, or $20.98 on vinyl, can be ordered here.