Helene Cronin’s ‘Beautiful December’ Captures The Magic Of The Season

Texas-bred singer/songwriter Helene Cronin describes herself as a “story-singer.” She’s been pursuing a path of sharing her experiences through music for many years. For her, the connection with audiences is very significant and motivating.

Cronin has recently released her first seasonal collection with the Beautiful December EP. Wildfire previously premiered the track “I Could Use a Silent Night”, which you can still check out right here. The track now also has a video which you can check out below.

Helene Cronin shares about the origin and creation of the EP:

“Having just released a new record, LANDMARKS, in February of 2023, I had no intention of recording new music this year. But truth is, we finished that record in July of 2022, and I was feeling restless. I started to think about how I had a little batch of Christmas songs, 4 of them new-ish, 2 of them quite a bit older. But it was already June and the window was closing quickly for a Christmas 2023 project!

I contacted my friend, studio owner Mitch Dane, engineer on my last 2 projects, asking if he’d be interested in producing a Christmas record. Was it reasonable to think we could do it that summer? He was very enthusiastic and so encouraging about working with me. As we talked about a 4 – 6 song EP, I told him I wanted the record to “feel like Christmas”, to capture the magic of the season.

Mitch and I did 2 days of pre-production, then brought in 3 players I always love working with: Bobby Terry, guitars; Chris Powell, drums; Byron House, bass. We spent one day tracking 5 songs. (Everything but “Christmas Boy”.) Then we brought in Charlie Lowell on keys, bells and B3 for a few songs and Melodie Chase on cello for a few. The next week I did the lead vocals, struggling with a throat and vocal issue. All week, I sounded more raspy than usual and I questioned if I should keep going. But listening back, it surprised me that this added to the emotional quality and warmth in the vocals. 

Mitch recruited 6 friends for a fun tequila-infused session laying down angel choir airy “ooo’s” on “I Could Use a Silent Night”. Matt Singleton added cool BGVs to “Christmas Boy” and “Beautiful December”. Caitlin Anselmo sang beautiful backgrounds on “One Night on Earth”, “The Bells of St. Thomas” and “Come, Lord Jesus”. And within one month, we were done, mixes and all! 

I’m pleased to introduce these songs to the world. They represent my take on Christmas. It’s a time of wonder and beauty, and there is so much to celebrate. It’s also a season that can heighten loneliness and disappointment. My hope is that an understanding of these universal, complex emotions comes through on this record, and that the unique love and joy of the season comes through in these songs.