Why would 8.6 million viewers go gaga over a TV reality show about some long, bushy bearded camouflage wearing and self-described rednecks? Why would the Facebook page of “Duck Dynasty” attract as many as 4.2 million fans? Why would a family who looks like a ZZ Top tribute band snag the number one Billboard Country album trophy from country superstar Toby Keith and heartthrob Thomas Rhett with their debut Christmas album. Even way before the time after Thanksgiving when consumers would devour Christmas music by the truckloads, “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” has made an impressive splash on Billboard’s main album chart at an impressive fourth place. So, what is the buzz behind this reality TV family and their Christmas album? The reasons unfold as we take a closer listen to Robertson’s newly released “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas.”
Yet for readers who do not have access to cable TV, a word needs to be said about the “Duck Dynasty.” “Duck Dynasty” is a reality TV that revolves around the lives of the Robertson family. They have become wealthy from their family-operated business, Duck Commander, operated in West Monroe, Louisiana, which makes products for duck hunters, primarily the duck call named Duck Commander. The family comprises of brothers Phil, Si, and Phil's sons Jase, Willie, and Jep; all of them are distinctively recognizable via their long beards. The business began in a family shed, where Phil Robertson spent 25 years making duck calls from Louisiana cedar trees. On top of their mega successful TV show, they have now released their first Christmas album. Released under the UMG Nashville imprint, “Duck the Halls” is a country slanted Christmas effort helmed by Buddy Cannon. Cannon is one of country music’s veteran producers who has had engineered records for Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire and Joe Nichols. Cannon certainly knows how to flex his muscles in getting some of country music’s stars such as Alison Krauss, George Strait, Josh Turner and Luke Bryan to join the Robertsons in the vocal department.
So, what makes this record such a hot sell? First, in our fragmented world of broken homes and endless divorces, the familial bond of the Robertsons strike a longing in our hearts. On TV never is their bond more evident than at the end of each episode where the entire family will gather around the dinner table to pray. Here on disc, nothing is more heartwarming than to hear the entire family gathering to sing “Duck the Halls,” a parody of the Christmas classic “Deck the Halls.” To some it may sound silly, but hearing the children making the quaking sounds right through the song cossets our hearts. Second, unlike many TV families (who for the sake of political correctness) would not ever mention the words “Jesus Christ,” the Robertsons not only prays on TV but when the words “Jesus Christ” were beep out they had caused quite a stir. “Why I Love Christmas,” a duet between Josh Turner and Missy Robertson doesn’t beat around the bush why the family celebrates Christmas. It’s not Santa or the Grinch; rather, it’s the “child that was born on that morning that brought the gift of life.”
Third, with the Robertsons you are always guaranteed some G-rated fun. Never taking themselves too seriously Willie Robertson gets a hand in co-writing and singing the Charlie Daniels-like romping “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas.” And those who enjoy Uncle Si’s jokes would love the boisterous narrated “The Night Before Christmas.” Fourth, the simplicity and the slower pace life of the Robertsons is what have drawn many to their show as well as this CD. Instead of basing their set in the high glamour city life of New York or Beverly Hills, their rustic home in Louisiana is a big draw. Here you can see them shoot ranges and encounter turtles and snakes. Likewise on disc, the simplicity of the song’s country backings of fiddles, steel, guitar and mandolin bring back something placid we have had always longed for. In short, “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” is a joy to listen to: it allows you to get into the mood of the season, it relaxes us in the midst of our busyness and most importantly it brings us back to Jesus who is the reason for the season.