Candi Carpenter takes on the darker aspect of the holiday season in her new rendition of Merle Haggard's classic, "If We Make it Through December," bolstered by a full string section and all the glitz of a Bing Crosby recording. Readers can press play above to hear the full track, premiering exclusively with the Boot.

As a teenager, Carpenter cut her teeth touring with country singer Jack Greene, where her holiday music education started early: The first songwriting credit she ever had was on Greene's "Red, White and Blue Christmas." Carpenter says that this version of "If We Make it Through December" reflects not only her country influence, but her penchant for the legends of holiday music.

"I grew up backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, but I was every bit as influenced by Judy Garland and Elvis Presley as I was by Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard," the singer explains. In recording a Christmas song, she wanted to make something that could be both creative and faithful to the music she loved growing up.

"[My producer, Ron Fair], wrote a stunning new arrangement, with all the grandeur of a vintage holiday record," Carpenter adds. Fair produced the singer's upcoming 2019 debut EP, as well as "If We Make it Through December," and his expertise in the studio and knowledge of Carpenter's unique blend of styles streamlined the recording process for the song.

"Ron is a Swiss army knife in the studio. He scored the strings himself, and produced and conducted an 18-piece orchestra while engineering the session," Carpenter relates, adding that fans can look forward to a similarly dexterous blend of strings and storytelling on her upcoming debut.

"It's going to be a very dramatic EP, which is appropriate, because I'm a very dramatic person," Carpenter adds. "I can't wait to tour next year, and finally share my heart with the world."

Carpenter's rendition of "If We Make It Through December" is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. Visit to learn more.

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