Leann Rimes to ring in Christmas season at Belly Up Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Leann Rimes to ring in Christmas season at Belly Up Aspen

LeAnn Rimes' "Today is Christmas" tour comes to Belly Up Aspen on Wednesday night.

'Tis the season for LeAnn Rimes' annual Christmas tour, which comes to Belly Up on tonight.

Rimes has been staging an annual Christmas tour for five winters now, and she's also released EPs of holiday songs and the 2015 album "Today is Christmas" ­— a collection of classics like "Auld Lang Syne" and "Little Drummer Boy" along with Rimes originals like the title track, which the "Today" show adopted as its holiday theme.

"It is one of my favorite times of the year," Rimes said in July when she announced the 13-stop Christmas tour, which also includes concerts in Denver and Salt Lake City. "There is something magical about it, and being able to share it with my fans makes it all the more special."

She's winding down the year with an intimate Christmas-themed tour that follows her massive world tour in support of her 2016 album "Remnants."

She called the album "the first thing that is what I feel like arriving in my skin, speaking volumes to who I am. I'm so grateful for all I've accomplished, but there's more left."

Rimes, an avid skier and Aspen regular, most recently played Belly Up two winters ago in an intimate and acoustic show featuring fresh arrangements of the country-pop star's well-worn hits like "How Do I Live" and "Something's Gotta Give."

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"It's really intimate," she told The Aspen Times before the show. "I love having that with an audience. I think people really have a moment of getting to know me and hopefully it's a great show of fantastic music."

Scaling down the production rekindled her passion for the material.

"Some of them we've looked at each other and said, 'Why didn't we do the record like that?'" she said. "That freedom, to be able to do something like that live, is really fun."

It's now been two decades since a 13-year-old Rimes burst onto the country music scene with her cover of Billy Mack's "Blue" in 1996, beginning her run of chart-topping records that boosted country on its way to its current domination of the pop landscape. She's sold more than 40 million records and, with "How Do I Live," scored the second-longest charting song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Rimes signed her first record deal at 11 and won her first Grammy at 14.

Much of Rimes' adult life has been fodder for tabloids. As a young music prodigy, Rimes didn't count on her personal life getting worldwide attention or seeing ridiculous and surreal stories fabricated in the press. But, she said, she's tried to turn that circus into inspiration. She's poured her frustrations with paparazzi and tabloids into her writing, she said, and every so often used fake tabloid stories about her as jumping-off points for songs.

"It's like, 'Wait, an article is coming out about what?' And it takes some time away," she said. "My life fuels my work and it's amazing the stories that people come up with about me. So it makes a good song every once in awhile. I look at it that way. I've had to."

atravers@aspentimes.com

IF YOU GO …

Who: LeAnn Rimes

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Wednesday, Dec. 20, 8:30 p.m.

How much: $70/general admission; $200/reserved seats

Tickets: Belly Up box office; http://www.bellyupaspen.com