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Rob Thomas says the Hallmark Channel helped him get in the mood to cut his first Christmas album

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On social media, Rob Thomas has been teasing the fact that he’s recording his first Christmas album, but getting in that Yuletide spirit in the middle of summer is hard.  Thank goodness for the Hallmark Channel.

“They have this thing called ‘Christmas in July,’ so in the studio I have this big-screen TV with no sound on and Christmas lights everywhere,” Rob tells Rolling Stone, explaining how he set a holiday mood as he recorded the project. “My whole bubble of people would know what I was doing. Whenever I was talking to someone on the phone, before they got off they’d say, ‘Merry Christmas, Rob.'”

The album features original songs, as well as covers of songs by Bryan Adams and Ray Charles, plus guest appearances by Ingrid Michaelson, gospel star Bebe Winans and country star Brad Paisley.

“It’s something I’ve always kind of wanted to do,” the Matchbox Twenty frontman tells Rolling Stone. “But I didn’t think anybody needs to hear me sing ‘Jingle Bells.’ You know, nobody needs to hear anybody honestly sing ‘Jingle Bells’ again. But I think I managed to pick some really cool covers, so I think it’s got its own original sound.”

So far, the album doesn’t have a title or a release date.  Rob tells Rolling Stone he’s also working on a solo album, and of course, he just released a new single, “Move,” with his pal Carlos Santana.

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