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Julie Roberts Asks ‘Who Needs Mistletoe’?

Jon-Paul Bruno

When it’s 100 degrees outside, the last thing on the minds of most people is Christmas. But for Julie Roberts, the opportunity to record some Yuletide favorites was exactly what she needed to beat the Nashville summer heat this past August. The ‘Break Down Here’ singer recorded an EP of seven holiday-themed tunes titled ‘Who Needs Mistletoe,’ after fans clamored for the project via her Facebook page.

“It wasn’t like I thought at the beginning of the year, ‘I’m going to a Christmas EP this year,’” Julie tells The Boot. “I was paying attention to what my fans were wanting. The timing was perfect so I just did it.”

The one new song on the collection is the title track, the somewhat racy ‘Who Needs Mistletoe,’ which was co-written by Julie and the EP’s co-producer Jason Collum.

“I really wanted to write one song and I could not get into it when it was 100 degrees outside. We tried to write it for several days. Everything’s been written about,” she explains.

The sultry tune contains the rather provocative hook line, “Who needs mistletoe, I’d rather be under you,” and Julie is quick to give credit where credit is due.

“Jason had that idea,” she notes. “I like songs where you can see it in your head. I could see [the main character in the song] singing to somebody dressed up like Santa or somebody that she wanted to be her Santa Claus that night. I loved writing it. It was fun. I know that it might be different for me but it’s fine. I can’t wait to sing it live!”

Aside from the newly-penned title track, the EP contains traditional holiday standards ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘O Holy Night,’ plus pop classics such as ‘Blue Christmas,’ ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ There’s also her poignant version of a tune she often sang as a little girl, ‘Pretty Paper,’ written by Willie Nelson.

“When I got into the studio, most of the musicians were younger than me,” says the 32-year-old. “Most of them play on the road with me and Jason has been my bandleader forever. I brought it in there and none of them knew it! I said, ‘You don’t know ‘Pretty Paper’?’ They said, ‘No, did you write it?’ [laughs] I wish I wrote it!”

Although singers will often get into the festive holiday mood by decorating the recording studio or putting up a Christmas tree, Julie used a different method to conjure up visions of sugarplums.

“I kind of did it like I do with all of my records,” she says. “I just become the lyric. I just saw Christmas in my head every time I closed my eyes. I don’t see anything but that song and that lyric. I did have one fan who knew I was recording that sent me a Christmas ornament. I hung it in my bedroom and I could see it every morning before I would go to the studio. It made me know they’re waiting on this excited about it.”

Recalling Christmases past, Julie says one of the most popular holiday albums in her house while growing up was the 1984 Dolly Parton-Kenny Rogers collaboration, ‘Once Upon a Christmas.’

“My Christmases have always just been very simple and about family,” she recalls. “It’s always just been about our family finally getting to be together for one or two days and all we do is eat and listen to Christmas music. Mama would make Christmas candy and we’d be decorating the tree listening to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ Christmas album.”

‘Who Needs Mistletoe’ is being offered at Julie’s website in three unique packages, all of which include personally signed copies of the EP. Other perks, depending on the package, include a personalized Christmas card, a copy of Julie’s ‘Alive’ CD, and even a phone call from the singer herself on Christmas Day.

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