JT Hodges breaks into a broad grin as he shares a fun little nugget courtesy of his fans. “A lot of my followers have been hashtagging me ‘Holiday Hodges’ this year,” he playfully notes. The fans have good reason for bestowing the alliterative nickname on the Texas-born singer/songwriter. Hodges has been busier than Christmas Eve elves with a couple of holiday releases, an EP titled All Through the Night: A Christmas Collection and a starring part in the Lifetime TV movie, Christmas Stars. So, like Santa himself, Hodges has truly been everywhere during this festive season.
With his leading man good looks, Hodges would seem a natural for the big screen. Fans likely remember his TV movie debut for Hallmark Channel in 2013, Finding Christmas. He received solid reviews for his performance, which spurred Lifetime to come calling for the Christmas Stars project. This time, Hodges pulled double duty, contributing new music to the film. “The cool thing about this one,” Hodges says, “is that they gave me the role and also asked me to be part of the music and the arrangements. That was a little extra icing on the cake. They needed someone who had some chops in the acting world and also could do the music. It was a great challenge and I enjoyed it.” With a laugh, Hodges adds, “They wanted me to play a Texas rocker/crooner and I said, ‘Great!’ I basically got to play myself.”
For another dose of reality, the Christmas Stars plot seems taken right from today’s music business headlines. Basically, it follows the story of an aspiring female artist who crosses paths with songwriter Spence, played by Hodges. But as the holiday season approaches, the record label executives begin to see the songwriter as the real star, threatening her career and her relationship with Spence.
“The story was about an up-and-coming singer trying to make her ticket and meeting a guy who had success in the music business,” Hodges explains. “They wanted my input and asked me if this was the kind of thing that was going on today. It was pretty close. But they really focused more on the character development than about the music business. It’s a romantic drama. I think they did a good job with the story.”
Hodges’ Christmas EP, currently in release, includes the original title track to the Lifetime film. “It was going to be part of the movie,” Hodges says, “but it was cut.” All Through the Night: A Christmas Collection also features new arrangements of favorites like “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells.” The true highlight of the record, though, is “God Rest Three Kings,” a Christmas mashup, if you will, of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “We Three Kings.” Hodges says, “I think that’s a really cool medley. It’s something that’s a little different, but with Christmas music, I think you get a little bit of freedom.” Hodges performed “God Rest Three Kings” at the recent Nashville Christmas Parade.
Once he’s through celebrating the holidays, Hodges will get right back to the work grind. He’s been putting together some new material for release, beginning in early 2020. “We have a lot of new content we’ll be rolling out,” Hodges says. “We’re not going to rush anything, but I think what I want to do is release one song a month. Just put it out and allow people to stream it.” Not an unusual strategy these days, because of the way fans purchase music. They’re continually clamoring for new music on a regular basis, rather than every few months. “That seems to be the way to go now,” Hodges acknowledges. “We’ve got a few tracks done and we have plans in place. So we should have something out by the first quarter of next year. We’ll also be in the process of lining up some shows and tour dates for next year. I love performing,” he adds, smiling, “so I can’t wait to go out and have some fun.”
JT Hodges’ EP All Through the Night: A Christmas Collection is available now. For more on Hodges, please visit his website and follow him on social media.