Essex County Reimagine Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’
British country trio Essex County teamed with Grammy-winning producer Ron Fair for a re-make of the Wham! smash ‘Last Christmas’.
Available now on all streaming services, Essex County’s version is a dramatically reimagined vision of George Michael’s 1984 sugar pop classic. Given the song’s worldwide popularity, the trio – comprised of brothers Nate, Mark and Kieran Bass – knew they had to make their version stand out.
Essex County changed the time signature for ‘Last Christmas’ to 6/8 and moulded the vocal phrasing to fit the new tempo. Then, guided by Fair’s expertise, members swapped the synthesiser for steel guitar, added a sparkling acoustic refrain and embraced the magic of Christmas with a strings section.
“If me and the lads didn’t change it up, it was going to be cookie-cutter boring,” Nate Bass said. “We worked on it until we got it right. Now it is so different. We really made it our own.”
Given the band and the song share the same British roots, Fair found the pairing of the two brilliant.
“It’s a beautiful record, one of the best I’ve ever made,” Fair said.
Fair also produced the band’s streaming hit ‘So Good,’ which launched their career this spring. Since the release of the song and its namesake EP, Essex County has accumulated close to 3 million streams and has been featured in Billboard, The Tennessean, Pollstar, and had video debuts on MTV and CMT, where they stayed in the Top 12 countdown for months.
“This place here suits us down to the ground,” Mark Bass said of Music City. “In Nashville, music is collaborative and celebrated.”
Country music has hip-shaking Georgia boys, sweet-crooning duos, and more than its fair share of tall, dark and predictable singing about love, loss and alcohol.
British country trio Essex County is bucking predictable.
Comprised of British brothers Nate, Mark and Kieran Bass, the trio is a fusion of searing harmonies, mature song sense and irreverent guitars.
Since Essex County’s March debut with ‘So Good,’ the trio is approaching 3 million streams. The video for ‘So Good’ was in the Top 10 on CMT for months, only unseated by another of their videos – up-tempo drinking anthem ‘Cheers to You.’ The group released their EP, also called ‘So Good’ on June 26 and is the first artist to have a video EP on CMT.
The band’s sound is stacked tight with a fresh edge on family harmonies and blistering multi-octave vocal ranges. Essex County is further broadened by sweeping country and rock influences that are showcased in songs that swing from soulful and heartfelt to holler-and-swaller.
With multiple tracks recorded, five music videos, a mini-documentary and a Chevrolet commercial, the men are set to make history as country music’s first British Invasion.
Photo credit: Taylor Kelly