Utah’s viral father-daughter duo is releasing a Christmas album. Here are the 11 songs
‘I honestly feel like this is the best album that we have done so far,’ Savanna Shaw, 17, said. ‘So much work and so much thought and love has gone into this album.’
It’s been a year and a half since Mat and Savanna Shaw went viral — and they’re already on their fourth album.
Since going viral for their rendition of “The Prayer” at the start of the pandemic, the father-daughter duo from Kaysville, Utah, has navigated a new life that includes connecting with a worldwide fanbase and putting on concerts.
“I honestly feel like this is the best album that we have done so far,” Savanna Shaw, 17, said. “So much work and so much thought and love has gone into this album.”
Here’s a breakdown of the 11 songs on the album, which is currently available for preorder. The tracklist features Christmas classics, some big collaborations and an original song from the Shaws.
Of all the songs Savanna Shaw and her dad have recorded, “Sleigh Ride” may be her favorite. The teenager, who recently graduated from high school, enjoys the jazzy, big band feel provided by Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band — an elite ensemble of young musicians in Utah.
“The Polar Express” is a Christmas staple in the Shaw home, and Josh Groban is one of Mat Shaw’s favorite singers — fans have even commented that the two share vocal similarities. Having their own rendition of “Believe,” then, seemed like a natural move for their Christmas album.
- “I’ve heard my dad sing that song my whole life,” Savanna Shaw said. “I would hear Josh Groban’s voice and be like, ‘Oh, it’s my dad!’”
‘More than Hands Can Hold’
“More than Hands Can Hold” is a new song from the Shaws that was inspired by Mat Shaw’s time in the Philippines.
- “I remember the kids in the Philippines, especially at Christmastime, they were so happy,” Mat Shaw said. “It wasn’t so much about the presents for them, but they found so much joy in just the simple things. This song is about Christmas being more than just what our hands can hold.”
‘A Little Bit of Christmas’
“A Little Bit of Christmas” features a collaboration with Jim Brickman, a singer-songwriter who happens to mean a lot to the Shaws.
Brickman’s hit song “Love of My Life” was one of the first songs Mat Shaw learned to play on the piano — and he used it to win over his wife, Brooke.
“It was an easy choice,” Brooke Shaw said, adding that she and Mat ended up singing the song together at their wedding.
The Shaws teased some of the song in a Facebook post on Wednesday, and announced they would reveal the entire rendition on Sunday.
Mat and Savanna’s take on this Christmas classic comes with a bossa nova style twist.
‘Where Are You Christmas’/’When Christmas Comes To Town’
This mashup of Christmas tunes — featured in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Polar Express” — is special to the Shaws because it includes a collaboration with Savanna Shaw’s younger sister, Pennie Jean Shaw.
Pennie Jean Shaw’s mom, Brooke Shaw, said her daughter was initially nervous to record the song. But when it came time to record, Pennie Jean Shaw overcame her fear, marched into the studio and did her part with confidence.
The idea of covering “Mr. Grinch” began as somewhat of a joke. Now, it’s a full-blown track on the album, once again featuring Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band.
- “These guys are just amazing,” Mat Shaw said, noting how impressive it is that the musicians are all teenagers. “They play jazz about as good as any band I’ve heard. They’re incredible.”
‘Breath of Heaven’
“Breath of Heaven” is a song co-written and performed by Amy Grant that tells the story of Jesus Christ’s birth from the perspective of Mary. Brooke Shaw said she got emotional multiple times during the recording process for this song.
‘Silent Night’/’Still, Still, Still’
The album’s second mashup of Christmas classics, Mat Shaw said it provides a “new and interesting twist” on “Silent Night,” and that people may come to hear the beloved carol in a new way.
‘Angels We Have Heard (Glory Be)’
This rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High” features accompaniment from a gospel choir — including some of the singers who were featured on the Shaws’ cover of “Amazing Grace” released earlier this year.
‘Mary, Did You Know?’
Made up of three tenors from Utah — Brad Robins, Casey Elliott and Bradley Quinn Lever — Gentri formed in 2014 and opened for OneRepublic at Provo’s 4th of July Stadium of Fire event in 2018.
Mat and Savanna Shaw’s Christmas tour
Earlier this year, the Shaws caught up with the Deseret News on the year anniversary of going viral. One of their biggest goals going into year No. 2 was to find more opportunities to perform live.
“The few opportunities that we’ve had have been so special,” Mat Shaw said at the time. “That’s the magic with live music, is that it really has a way of touching the soul that not really much else can. It just pierces our souls and breaks down our walls and defenses. We really look forward to performing.”
Now, after announcing the tracklist for their upcoming album, the Shaws revealed that they will be embarking on a Christmas tour on Nov. 30 — including a livestreamed concert from Salt Lake City’s Eccles Theater that will feature BYU’s Vocal Point and singer Peter Hollens.
Below are the tour dates:
- Nov. 30 — San Juan Capistrano, California
- Dec. 5 — Auburn, Alabama
- Dec. 6 — Seattle, Washington
- Dec. 7 — Spokane, Washington
- Dec. 8 — Salem, Oregon
- Dec. 11 — Santa Clarita, California
- Dec. 12 — Los Angeles, California
- Dec. 14 — Santa Rosa, California
- Dec. 18 — Salt Lake City, Utah
- Dec. 22 — Gilbert, Arizona