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CBC First Play: Imagine

Heather Rankin released her first solo album, A Fine Line, in 2016, after decades performing and recording as part of Cape Breton’s renowned Rankin Family or Rankin Sisters. Just one year later, Imagine, will be her second solo release — and first Christmas album, apart from 1997’s Do You Hear…Christmas with siblings Cookie and the late Raylene.

“The goal of this record was to create something classic and beautiful, music that people will want playing in their homes for generations to come,” Rankin said via press release. “Music to listen to while having dinner or gathering with family and friends. I wanted to share songs that were a very special addition to the celebrations.”

But Rankin also says she wanted to put a “stamp on holiday music,” which means traditional carols like “Silent Night,” “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sit alongside newly written tracks like the album’s first single, “Wrap it Up,” as well as “Olde-Fashioned Christmas” and “Dark Eyes (Lullaby),” the latter featuring co-writing from Alex Cuba. The closing, and title, track, is a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

A nice touch on two of the traditional carols — “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Silent Night” — is the addition of St. Michael’s Choir School, which, when paired with Rankin’s holiday-perfect voice, is a charming addition to a Christmas soundtrack.

Imagine will be released Dec. 1, and you can pre-order it here.