Richard Marx gets in the ‘Christmas Spirit’
By Gary Graff
Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:05 a.m.

Richard Marx is getting in the holiday spirit with a digital Christmas EP imaginatively titled “The Christmas EP.” An outgrowth of an annual holiday gift Marx and his three sons recorded at home for his wife, actress Cynthia Rhodes, the set includes four classics, including a duet with Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins on “Silent Night,” plus a new song, “Christmas Spirit,” co-written with Tubes frontman Fee Waybill.

“My manager said, ‘You’ve never put out a Christmas record, and it’s probably too late to do an album but why don’t we do an EP? Why don’t you do a couple of those songs you’ve done with your boys but you sing lead and leave them in as background singers,’ ” said Marx, who plans to record a full-length offering in 2012. Marx recorded his new vocals in Nashville, cutting with a rhythm section in one room and an orchestra in the next. “I could see them both from the vocal booth,” he recalls, “and we sang and played everything live.”

Marx describes “Christmas Spirit” as “really up-tempo and fun — I want people to think Phil Spector busted out of jail. It’s total over-production — strings, bells, girl singers, you name it. That’s sort of our key track for the album.”

Marx’s primary outlet now, in fact, is writing for others. He’s spent the past few years racking up credits with Celine Dion, Daughtry, Lifehouse, Ringo Starr, Julio Iglesias, Toni Braxton, Kenny Loggins, Travis Tritt, Clay Aiken and especially Keith Urban, with whom Marx has notched three hits — “Everybody,” “Better Life” and the recent country No. 1 “Long Hot Summer.”

© 2011 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.