Amy Grant Remembers the Car Ride That Inspired "Tennessee Christmas"

ABC/Mark LevineDecember 24, Christian/pop superstar Amy Grant performs her holiday staple, “Tennessee Christmas,” on this year’s annual CMA yuletide special.

“I wrote 'Tennessee Christmas' with Gary Chapman,” she says, remembering how the song started. “We were newlyweds. It was a long time ago. We wrote that the summer of 1983. We were driving south on Hillsboro Road out of Nashville toward Franklin. And I knew I was about to make a Christmas record. It was a full moon, and the way the moon was shining on the hills, it looked like snow.”

From those simple beginnings, a contemporary classic was born.

“We just started singing, without an instrument, the ideas for 'Tennessee Christmas.' We actually wrote the entire song in the car, on that drive,” Amy recalls. “So flash forward -- lots of changes in life. Gary and I toasted, coffee cups. I said, 'I've re-cut our song!' He said, 'Oh great!'” she laughs.  

“Tennessee Christmas” is the title track of Amy’s latest yuletide collection, which also includes a duet with her now-husband, Vince Gill, on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

You can hear Amy’s slightly-updated version of the song on Christmas Eve at 9 p.m. ET, when CMA Country Christmas re-airs on ABC.

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