Thanks to its semi-tropical location and polyglot historical influences -- German and Czech settlers blending with Mexican traditions leading to such cross-cultural oddities as traditional crèches dolled up with jalapeño pepper lights and luminarias -- Texas just isn't Currier & Ives country, and so the more traditional Christmas iconography gets skewed. Good luck getting a white Christmas in San Antonio, after all. Austin-based honky-tonker Dale Watson
(recording at Sun Studios in the dog days of summer, no less) delivers a more regionally appropriate set of holiday songs on Christmas Time in Texas, 12 songs that range from heartfelt seasonal tunes like the title track and a sweet duet with Joy Lynn White
on "Christmas Love" to more tongue-in-cheek romps like the trucker goof "Santa and My Semi" and the chile-head Western swing anthem "Hot Texas Christmas Day." A pair of classics, "The Christmas Song" and a gorgeous pedal steel-led version of "Silver Bells," round out the catalog. Overall, Christmas Time in Texas is enjoyable enough to overcome the faint sense of cheesiness that usually accompanies Christmas albums.