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One of the most unusual selections on Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas is the title track, a reinvention of “Deck the Halls” by all the Robertsons, with Jase playing the song on a duck call. “That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, because duck calls sound like ducks,” he explained. “They were like, ‘Do you think you can use the duck call as an instrument on the song ‘Duck the Halls?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not sure I should do that.’ But I really worked hard on it. I hope people like it.”
Willie stepped out of his comfort zone by writing his first song, “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas,’ with Dallas Davidson. “I took to it pretty good,” he said. “Dallas had the title, so we started there and then we just took it and started writing visually what we were seeing and putting it down on paper. It’s what we thought of how Christmas was and is, especially for us in the South.”
The Robertsons’ long friendship with Luke Bryan only helped seal the deal and led eventually to the singer joining Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche and Jason Aldean as partners in the Robertson deer hunting business, Buck Commander.
“I met Luke in San Antonio,” said Willie. “We went down and saw him play in some honky-tonk. We hung out with him and got to be good buddies, and he ultimately joined up with us in the hunting business. It gives us an excuse to hang out together and have fun in hunting camp because they love to be in the outdoors and so do we. Of course, with ‘Duck Dynasty’ getting so big, our schedules are all crazy, so we really cherish those times when we actually get three or four days to just kind of hang out and be dudes.”
Willie, the third of Phil and Kay Robertson’s four sons – Alan, Jase, Willie and Jep – took over Duck Commander a decade ago and turned the family business into a multi-million-dollar empire. “I came in fresh and had a lot of energy and new ideas,” he said. “I got into TV. I thought it would help business. And then Buck Commander came along. Everybody wants to get into deer hunting because there are just so many more of them. There’s only maybe two million duck hunters in all of America, so it’s a small crowd, but they spent a lot of money. And there are, like, 20 million deer hunters.”
For more on the Robertsons’ debut as Country recording artists, CMA members are invited to see the Dec 2013/Jan 2014 issue of CMA Close Up.
Photo caption, top: Business and duet partners Willie Robertson and Luke Bryan join host Jennifer Nettles on “CMA Country Christmas,” airing Dec. 2 on ABC. Photo: Donn Jones / CMA