Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas album, which was released this week, features the bearded Louisiana clan singing traditional Christmas carols and duck-themed songs in the latest addition to their stable of merchandise.
The album, in which the family showcase their work on the squawking duck calls that have made their Duck Commander company leaders in the hunting industry, will also be a test of how the unlikely TV stars can compete head-to-head against Christmas albums by country music’s perennial million-sellers Kelly Clarkson and Trace Adkins.
Willie Robertson, Duck Commander’s chief executive, is not counting on music being a full-time gig for the Duck Dynasty crew, who have also parlayed the A&E Network’s series into a merchandise lines sold at big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Sears.
“We’re not aspiring to be country music stars,” Willie Robertson said in an interview about the album, which was produced by Nashville hitmaker Buddy Cannon.
“When we first went in the studio with Buddy we didn’t know what was going to happen, but we are very proud of the album,” he said.
Critics ascribe its success to fact that the Robertsons are seen as a regular family, and viewers can compare their quirks and eccentricities to their own family members.
Duck Dynasty reality show has also spawned diverse merchandise, from sporting goods and apparel to the unusual antibacterial bandages and camouflage reclining furniture. A&E’s online store has more than 300 Duck Dynasty products.
The Robertson family also got a little help on the album from country stars such as Luke Bryan, George Strait and Alison Krauss, who lent their voices to some tracks.
The album includes a few novelties from the long-bearded, camouflage-wearing hunting enthusiasts from West Monroe, Louisiana, along with traditionals, including I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
“It is definitely from our perspective of a down-home middle-America Christmas,” Willie Robertson said.
“There is some funny stuff and then there is some serious stuff.”
Willie Robertson even had a hand in writing a few of the songs, including Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas with top Nashville songwriter Dallas Davidson.
Led by Phil Robertson, his sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, wife Miss Kay and brother Si, sing and toot their duck calls on songs like Duck the Halls and Camouflage and Christmas Lights.
Although a strong starting position on the Billboard 200 album chart next week would cement the national appeal of the family’s personas, do not expect them to be quacking about the album after November 23.