Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Legendary singer Darlene Love and 23-year-old vocalist Chris Ruggiero joined forces at the Power Station in New York City in order to release a duet of Grown-Up Christmas List for Ruggiero’s new

holiday LP, Christmas With Chris Ruggiero. Although once labled to “Queen of Christmas” by talk show host David Letterman, it’s been more than 25 years since Love last recorded a Christmas song.

Produced by Joe Mirrione and arranged by legendary composer Charles Calello, the album features holiday classics including It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Sleigh Ride and more, all sung with Ruggiero’s uniquely warm, vintage pop and soulful feel.

“I was asked in an interview who my dream duet partners would be and I casually mentioned Darlene Love,” explains Ruggiero on how the collaboration came to be. “We had never even met, and frankly, there was never even a thought that it was a possibility.”

Love was shown the interview. “I asked my team to arrange a meeting in New York City,” Love recalls. “We had lunch and Chris mentioned he was working on a Christmas album and that he was about to record a new version of Grown-Up Christmas List. I asked him if he might want to sing the song together and he agreed.”

Love’s Christmas classic Baby Please Come Home is synonymous with the holiday. “I performed my very first Christmas show at The Bottom Line in 1984,” she says. “Steven Van Zandt insisted that I move to the East Coast to further my career and it was the best decision I ever made.”

Ruggiero adds, “Her voice was such a big part of Christmas in my house, for me and all of my relatives, so the only thing I can liken it to is it was like stepping onto the set of your favorite TV show. It’s surreal to have the opportunity to make some Christmas magic with Darlene and it’s just so thrilling to think that my voice, along with hers, might become a part of other families’ Christmas soundtrack. More importantly, it’s been an inspiration. There is so much passion and so much energy in her voice that it really inspired me to sing this song in a way that I know I wouldn’t have without her influence. Singing with her has made me a better singer, there’s no doubt.”

Ruggiero first broke onto the national scene in 2018 with his PBS-TV debut on their Doo Wop Generations special. Three full-length albums and an EP soon followed. On Quiet Nights, Ruggiero re-imagines ten pop-rock standards with only his voice and a piano. Time Was and Duets are two collections of classics and I Am Chris Ruggiero features completely new arrangements of songs like This Magic Moment and Wouldn’t It Be Nice.

Although touring separately over the holidays, the two will perform together at Tarrytown Music Hall on Dec. 17. Love says, “My fans can expect to hear the joyful sounds of the oldies that bring back memories from the past and I’m super excited to perform my new holiday single with Chris.” Other tour stops for Love include the APG Federal Credit Union Arena (Dec. 7) and the Town Hall in New York (Dec. 18). Love’s complete listing of tour dates. Ruggiero’s tours include the Sellersville Theater, Pennsylvania (Dec. 5) and The Ridgefield Playhouse, Connecticut (Dec. 15). Ruggiero’s complete listing of tour dates.

In addition to holiday classics during his current tour, Ruggiero will be filling his shows with songs from the Golden Age of Rock and Roll. He says, “These aren’t sixties songs to a kid in their teens or twenties. They may know the songs from TV shows, movies or commercials. They’re all songs that never go out of style and I’ll never stop singing them.”

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