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Todd Almond Announces New Holiday Album 'A Pony for Christmas'

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The new album will be released on November 19.

Todd Almond Announces New Holiday Album 'A Pony for Christmas'

Ghostlight Records has announced that Todd Almond's debut holiday album A Pony for Christmas will be released in digital and streaming formats on Friday, November 19.

Almond is an acclaimed songwriter and performer who can currently be seen as "Gideon Wolfe" on HBO Max's "Gossip Girl" and on Broadway as "Elias Burke" in Conor McPherson and Bob Dylan's Girl from the North Country. An inspired folk-pop take on the classic holiday album, A Pony for Christmas weaves personal original compositions with new versions of traditional carols and unexpected reworkings of pop songs. The album is produced by Todd Almond and Peter Sachon.

Pre-save the new album here.

A Pony for Christmas - which masterfully combines folk, rock, pop and theater influences - started as an idea from Todd's mother. "Every year for, oh, twenty-something years, she has asked me to make a Christmas album for her," he remembers. "And every year I haven't done it. Her 70th birthday landed in the middle of the pandemic and I struggled with what to get her that showed just how much I love her. Then one day it hit me. A Christmas album, of course. And there was the inspiration I needed."

"The whole project, which had been such a mystery before, became perfectly clear to me when I thought about it as a gift," he continues. "Certain songs, like "The Little Drummer Boy," jumped right into my mind. I added an original verse at the end-not only is the boy proud to play for royalty, but he's even prouder that he gets to report this to his mother, who is his ultimate support. 'I got to play my drum, mom! I played it for a king!'"

Almond strove to include selections that aren't "Christmas" songs per se, but say things like "thank you" ("Kind and Generous"), or "I miss my home" ("Welcome Home") or "my childhood made me who I am" (a haunting mash-up of three Kate Bush compositions, "Hounds, Running, Clouds"). "The album took shape as a celebration of life, of gratitude, of recognition of who I am because of the people who have loved me," he reflects. "This is a thank you to my mom and to everyone I love. For me, that is what the best kind of Christmas gift is: something only you can give, and something you give in gratitude."

"Christmas is the best time of year, and some music just feels like Christmas," says Almond. "'Ponies' - an original song from my musical Iowa - is not about Christmas. But there's something in the song that makes me laugh, so it's included here as an extra bit of joy. And we put sleigh bells on the track, so if you don't pay attention to lyrics, you'll never know it has nothing to do with Christmas!"

The originals on the album include "Moon Over Nebraska," perhaps Almond's most requested song. "I wrote it for my husband Mark, but I wrote it before I met him. It's hard to explain, but if you believe in fate, you'll get it. I grew up in Nebraska, and the first lines sound like a dis to Nebraska, but it's just more of that endless longing that I think is a hallmark of my writing. I long. Even when I have. Merry Christmas."

The joyous "Welcome Home" originated from Almond's musical The Odyssey, the third show he wrote and performed in for The Public Theater's Public Works program, which he started with Lear deBessonet. "No recording of any of this music from any one of those shows exists," comments Todd, "and so I'm thrilled to debut a song here. Those shows, too, felt born of gratitude and love for the great city of New York. Lear and I wanted to tell big stories that included all of what makes New York the greatest city in the world, and this is big finale of one of those shows. Over two hundred people on stage singing to Odysseus and to anyone who needs to hear it: 'Welcome Home! Everyone wants you here!' That felt like a Christmas mood to me, so we've included it."

The lilting "Christmas Eve" is the album's sole original instrumental piece. Almond explains: "I just wanted to try to capture that late night moment, after the world is asleep, the candles might just be down to their last little flickers, there are dishes that need doing, and Santa will be here soon, but you find yourself on the couch, under a blanket, snuggled up with your loved one or your dog or your book, and you let the silent snow fall light and melancholy, and you want to cry because it's really beautiful."

The collection's finale is a charming acoustic take on the timeless standard "I'll Be Home for Christmas." This song perfectly sums up the sentiment of the album," he concludes. "Even if I'm not home, I'm thinking of you and I love you."

Todd Almond is known for his singular songwriting in addition to his work as an accomplished performer. He recently toured the U.S. in his original musical Kansas City Choir Boy starring alongside rock icon Courtney Love, and starred in three of his original musicals at the famed Delacorte Theater in Central Park (The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, and The Odyssey).

His musical Girlfriend - based on the Matthew Sweet album of the same title - is a perennial favorite for theater companies around the country, and he is currently collaborating with producer David Foster on a new, original musical. He has previously collaborated with Sarah Ruhl (Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical), Jenny Schwartz (Iowa), Laura Benanti (In Constant Search for the Right Kind of Attention), Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz ("Twohander"), Kelli O'Hara ("Live at Carnegie Hall"), and Andrew Rannells ("Live from Lincoln Center").

Tracklist

1. Maybe This Christmas (music and lyrics by Ron Eldon Sexsmith)

2. Ponies (music and lyrics by Todd Almond - from the musical Iowa)

3. O Holy Night (music by Adolphe Adam, based on the poem by Placide Cappeau, lyrics by John Sullivan Dwight)

4. Welcome Home (music and lyrics by Todd Almond - from the musical The Odyssey)

5. A Pony for Christmas (music and lyrics by Todd Almond)

6. Hounds of Love / Cloudbusting / Running Up That Hill (music and lyrics by Kate Bush)

7. The Little Drummer Boy (music and lyrics by Katherine Davis, Harry Simeone and Henry Onorati)

8. Kind and Generous (music and lyrics by Natalie Merchant)

9. Moon Over Nebraska (music and lyrics by Todd Almond)

10. The First Noel / Angels We Have Heard on High (Traditional)

11. River (music and lyrics by Joni Mitchell)

12. Christmas Eve (music by Todd Almond)

13. I'll Be Home for Christmas (music and lyrics by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent)


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