Luke Bryan & More Country Stars Take You Home for the Holidays in 'A Country Faith Christmas' Book

Billboard contributor Deborah Evans Price gathers recipes, stories & more in new book. 

Deborah Evans Price is one of country music’s most esteemed journalists. Her byline has appeared in Billboard, Nash Country Weekly, Rolling Stone and countless other magazines. Now Price -- the 2013 winner of the CMA Media Achievement Award -- has just released a new book that is very close to her heart. Titled A Country Faith Christmas, it serves as a follow-up to her popular Country Faith book from 2013.

“We were trying to find ways that we could expand the Country Faith brand,” Price told Billboard. “One of my business partners had the idea to do a line of jewelry, so we partnered up with a company in L.A. called Bob Siemon Designs, and Word/Warner is our partner on the music side. The Country Faith companion CD did rather well, and they wanted to do another one, so we thought about doing another book. One of the partners had the idea to do a Christmas book.”

A Country Faith Christmas profiles many of the hottest artists on the market today, as well as many of the most iconic legends in the business. One thing that Price found is that not all Yuletide celebrations are the same. “Depending on where people grew up is what their traditions are. The Bellamy Brothers grew up in Florida on a ranch, and they would get animals for Christmas presents. I thought that was interesting.”

Many artists contributed recipes to the book – whether it be Luke Bryan’s Scrambled Chili Dogs or Mama’s Tea Cakes, a dish from Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman. Price said she always enjoys talking to the musicians regarding their culinary talents. “It's interesting to me to find out what people's favorite dishes are to eat on Christmas day. Neal McCoy contributed a Filipino recipe for a dish called Pancit. I'm gonna try to make it,” she said, though she noted that “my husband Gary is the cook in the family. Canaan Smith’s chili is also interesting because it's his mother's recipe, and she puts worcestershire sauce on it, which gives it some kick.”

One of the common threads to the stories shared in the book is how music and the artists’ first musical instruments often play a pivotal role in their Christmas memories. “Vince Gill talked about getting his first guitar and how much it meant to him because he didn't have to share it with his dad. Scotty McCreery's grandfather got him a guitar, while Wade Hayes got a guitar one year, and it got passed around his family, and a few years later, he got it back!”

The legendary Charlie Daniels contributed to A Country Faith Christmas by penning four Advent devotionals, which Price noted might be a surprise to some, but he comes by it naturally. “I don't know if people know he's a wonderful Bible scholar, and he really knows the Bible. What he wrote is the reason for the season.” Daniels also shared the story of buying his wife Hazel a unique present for Christmas early on in their marriage. “He bought her a bowling ball one year. She was on a bowling team and didn't have a ball. They were young and married, and he worked extra gigs to get it for her. I love that story.”

Another story that touched Price was that of Jimmy Wayne, who spent one Christmas working as a prison guard. “He traded places with one of the other guards so he could be home with his family, and he was walking through the prison checking things out, and this guy named ‘Jelly Roll’ started singing 'Silent Night,' and his voice was just booming through the place, and grown men were crying. He said it was the most amazing experience. He said he switched shifts to be a blessing to the other guard, but he got the biggest blessing from it.”

The book is supported by a companion CD that features selections from acts such as Brad PaisleyCarrie Underwood and Lonestar, as well as a special track that Price is honored to have included. “We've got some great artists, and we end it with Johnny Cash reading the scripture from Luke, which is very powerful.”

The disc is available at many locations, including the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which fits the target demographic of the book like a glove. “Cracker Barrel has been a wonderful place to expose the Country Faith brand. They have been so supportive. When you think of good food in a positive environment, the Cracker Barrel consumer is the same person that will pick up the book and CD.”

Price tells Billboard that her next Country Faith project will be a look at the favorite hymns of country artists, targeted for an Easter 2016 release.

'Country Faith Christmas' Brings Together Holiday Music and Recipes Featuring Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, & More

Country Faith Christmas on Regnery Publishing will release October 19th at all retail and online book outlets.

Country Faith Christmas will feature Christmas memories from thirty-seven of today's top country music stars, including Florida Georgia Line, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, and Brenda Lee as well as a foreword written by Kimberly Schlapman (Little Big Town) and four Advent meditations from Charlie Daniels. The stars share their holiday stories, family traditions, memorable gifts, personal recipes, and favorite Christmas carols.

Compiled by the Country Music Association's (CMA) award-winning journalist and author Deborah Evans Price, Country Faith Christmas is the holiday follow-up to the immensely popular Country Faith.

"It's been a pleasure and privilege to put together Country Faith Christmas," said Price in a press release. "This book contains so many wonderful stories that fans will enjoy, and I'm especially excited for people to see the amazing photos the artists have shared. Some of the photos include Alan Jackson sitting on Santa's lap, a pint-sized Vince Gill clutching a football, Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard gathered around the Christmas tree with his family,Phil Vassar with a set of drums he received as a child, Reba with a special gift from her sister Susie, along with many other special moments."

Alan Jackson's family tradition of going to church on Christmas Eve followed by a driving tour of Nashville's Christmas lights. Jackson also shares his family recipe for Christmas Fruit Salad.

Reba McEntire's strong faith includes a family tradition of singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus every year before opening packages on Christmas morning.

Brenda Lee remembers a poor childhood in Georgia, with her dad whittling the children's Christmas gifts, and the love of family and belief in God as the best gift each holiday season.

And holiday stories and photos from thirty-four more country music stars.

Book Quest

WILDFIRE7 is seeking a yet-to-be-released book property that will be adapted into a faith-based motion picture to be directed by filmmaker-in-residence Joshua Butler.  

Butler and WILDFIRE7 are seeking a story that is based on or inspired by true-life events.  Ideally it is told as a first-person account, either as a memoir or a more formalized autobiography.  The author/narrator is preferably a ''millennial'' female (under the age of 35) who is telling her story about coming of age at the end of the 20th Century/beginning of the 21st Century.  Perhaps most importantly, the story should have at its heart a powerful theme of redemption.  The author might have had a harrowing life of sin and struggle, but at a critical moment, she is redeemed by the power of faith. 

The quest for this very specific story springs from a desire on the part of Butler and WILDFIRE7 to use the medium of cinema to ignite, empower, serve the Church and influence the culture.  This is an era when Church attendance-especially among millennials-is at a historic low.  In other words, the image of ''old-school'' Christianity is just not resonating with many of today's youth.  A story about a young person who finds her way to the Church and is positively transformed by faith would speak to the 18 to 34-year-old demographic-the most ardent of moviegoers-and help redefine and reintroduce Christianity in a ''new-school'' way. 

The reason for desiring an upcoming property and not one that is already published goes to the very heart of what WILDFIRE7 is as a company. Rather than relying on existing brands, WILDFIRE7 wants to use its talents and resources to create exciting NEW brands.  By becoming involved with a book before its release, the team can make a motion picture that will promote the book in an epic way, design an original soundtrack for the film using its strong relationships with faith-based singers and songwriters, engage youth pastors across America to be part of the film's development process, and ultimately employ cross-platform strategies to market the finished product to both Christian and secular audiences. 

The goal is ultimately to find a story that can be adapted into a powerful and transformative movie that speaks to believers and non-believers across generations.

WILDFIRE7 Launches With Debut Project: Worship Anthems Inspired By A.D. The Bible

New Faith-Based Multi-Dimensional Entertainment Company WILDFIRE7 Launches in New York City and Nashville


Worship Anthems Inspired By A.D. The Bible Continues Created For Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's A.D. The Bible Continues Series is Debut Project for New Company

 

April 6, 2015 (New York, NY/Nashville, TN) – WILDFIRE7, a brand new faith-based multivalent entertainment company that will focus on media marketing, full-service management, production and the television and digital industries has officially launched with the release of Worship Anthems Inspired By A.D. The Bible Continues (Integrity Music). The project was created by WILDFIRE7 for Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s forthcoming NBC epic series, A.D. The Bible Continues, launching this Easter 2015. The project was conceived by WILDFIRE7 for Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's Lightworkers Media for the epic NBC series A.D. The Bible Continues and released through Integrity Music featuring some of the biggest worship songs and artists today.

A division of Wildfire Media Group Inc., WILDFIRE7 joins music industry veteran Danny McGuffey with former advertising production executives Joe Sicurella and Adam Joseph. The new company will be based in both New York City’s Meatpacking District and Nashville, Tennessee.

WILDFIRE7 conceived the development and is the branding consultant for the 14 song Worship Anthems Inspired By A.D. The Bible Continues, which features some of Christian music’s biggest worship songs and artists. WILDFIRE7’s latest recorded version of “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” is also featured on the album.

“We are truly excited to birth a new model in faith based entertainment management, licensing and production in the heart of the world’s entertainment capitals; New York City and Nashville, Tennessee,” remarked McGuffey. “Joe and I have had this dream for many years and to witness how fast things are coming together is amazing. Our desire is to be stewards of the gifts given us and our partners and see the world changed by amazing stories, songs and media content.” Joseph additionally, notes, “I am excited to implement my experience of music and advertising integration into this new conglomerate and I believe this radical model with help drive the future of the music and entertainment industries.” 

The Best Christian Songs Ever © is the first all-digital project from WILDFIRE7 and features many of the faith based industry’s biggest hit songs at rock bottom consumer pricing (http://buzzplant.com/bcse/newyear/). “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”, “God’s Not Dead” and “We Believe” are the first three songs, with “Revelation Song”, “10,000 Reasons” and “There’s Something in the Water” to be released soon. With several songs already available and new tracks added every other month, the everyday pricing of 69¢ a song is the lowest price offered on iTunes for hit songs.

This fall, WILDFIRE7 plans to release A Country Faith Christmas ©, featuring some of the biggest Country Music stars and their favorite Christmas scripture, stories and recipes through Regnery Publishing, a division of Salem Communications. Author of the original Country Faith book and renowned and award winning Billboard magazine columnist Deborah Evans Price, has partnered with WILDFIRE7 to author the new book following the success of the original, which was a No. 1 pick in People Country magazine. Accompanying the book will be the Country Faith Christmas© CD which will feature songs by Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and many others (Word Entertainment/Warner Bros. Records). A special Cracker Barrel deluxe edition is also being produced.

Also this fall, renowned worship songwriter/artist Darlene Zschech, known for writing the iconic song “Shout to the Lord,” will release her fourth book, “Worship Changes Everything.” WILDFIRE7 will be managing all marketing, strategic development and promotion for Zschech’s recorded and publishing products. Zschech was senior worship pastor at Hillsong Church for 14 years where she produced, wrote and led worship for their album projects. She now co-pastors Hope Unlimited Church on the central coast of Australia with her husband Mark.

“I am thrilled to have Danny and Adam, who have extraordinary taste and instincts, as my partners in this new company,” remarked Sicurella. “We are viewing this as a total faith venture. Our vision is to serve the Church in New York as well as developing Artists, Producers and Brands internationally.”

Wildfire Media Group’s vision is “To Ignite, Empower and Serve the Church and the Creative community and influence the culture with life changing media content that ignites the world around us”