News

‘Duck Dynasty’ waddles into country music

‘Duck Dynasty’ waddles into country music

Pictured from left, Phil Robertson, Jase Robertson, Si Robertson and Willie Robertson from the A&E series, "Duck Dynasty". Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard

By Vernell Hackett

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) – Already atop the duck hunting industry and cable television, the Robertson family of juggernaut reality series “Duck Dynasty” now has the music charts in their crosshairs.

Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas,” which was released this week, features the bearded, down-home-on-the-bayou 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.

But 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 Walmart and Sears.

“We’re not aspiring to be country music stars,” 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,” Robertson said.

“Duck Dynasty” drew 11.8 million viewers for its season four debut in August, a record for a cable nonfiction series according to A&E. The show chronicles the Robertson’s rural Louisiana life of hunting, fishing and domestic squabbles among men and women.

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.

The TV 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.

‘MIDDLE-AMERICA CHRISTMAS’

The 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,” Robertson said. “There is some funny stuff and then there is some serious stuff.”

Willie even had a hand in writing a few of the songs, including “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas” with top Nashville songwriter Dallas Davidson.

Led by Robertson patriarch Phil, 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.

That is the start of duck-hunting season, and the Robertsons will get away from the cameras, leave the manufacturing company behind, and go off into the great outdoors to make sure their duck calls really do work.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Kate Upton, Lea Michelle to play best pals in new comedy

Fresh
Kate Upton arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Kate Upton and Lea Michele have teamed up for a new William H. Macy comedy called "The Layover."

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: March 27

beatles

A look back on Hollywood headlines of years past.

in Music

Ed Sheeran surprises newlyweds at wedding reception

Ed Sheeran performs at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Ed Sheeran surprised a pair of newlyweds at their wedding reception by singing Thinking Out Loud for their first dance.

in Music

Taylor Swift named among world’s greatest leaders in new Fortune poll

Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

Taylor Swift ranks two spots behind Pope Francis in a new Fortune.com poll of the World's Greatest Leaders.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.