John Driskell Hopkins Decks the Halls

Zac Brown Band bassist John Driskell Hopkins has a fun new Christmas album, titled You Better Watch Out!, featuring Atlanta’s own Joe Gransden (pictured here with Hopkins) and his Big Band.

It’s a mix of styles, with a jazz ensemble backing a country and bluegrass crooner as he interprets his favorite holiday classics. This team-up does wonders with the greatest redneck Christmas carol of them all, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” Hopkins revises the work of Elmo and Patsy with help from one of the world’s best banjo pickers, Bela Fleck. The end result makes the most of the talent at hand without diminishing the song’s sense of humor.

Other special guests include Irish-American folk singer Aoife O’Donovan (“Santa Baby”) and fellow Zac Brown Band members Daniel De Los Reyes (“Donde Esta Santa Claus?”) and Clay Cook (“Here Comes Santa Claus”).

It’s the first album recorded at the current Atlanta incarnation of Hopkins’ Brighter Shade Studio. Named for his band from the 1990s, the studio has existed in different forms and locations. Currently, it’s housed in a 2,500 square foot space with a main recording space large enough to accommodate a 30-piece orchestra.