Concert tours usually are designed to promote an artist’s latest project.
However, don’t expect to hear Linda Eder filling her show next week at Packard Music Hall with songs from her new holiday album, “Christmas Where You Are.”
“I don’t really like to do Christmas shows before December,” she said during a telephone interview. “I might throw in one or two.”
Instead, Eder will be performing a show designed as a career retrospective. Along with songs from her Broadway debut in “Jekyll & Hyde” and other songs associated with the vocalist, Eder went back and picked songs she grew up singing in Minnesota. They range from Jesse Colter’s “I’m Not Lisa,” which Eder used to sing as a teenager working in her family’s restaurant, to “Climb Every Mountain” from “my one and only high school theater experience,” she said.
“It’s a walk down memory lane. All of the songs I chose are important to me for one reason or another … They’re all known songs, and you get to hear the stories that go along with them.”
Her approach to some of those songs is different at age 52.
“‘I’m not Lisa’ is all about a relationship,” she said. “I hadn’t been in a relationship then. I didn’t know what I was singing about.”
Just because Eder won’t be singing much, if anything, from “Christmas Where You Are” doesn’t mean she isn’t proud of the album. The disc is her first collection of holiday songs since 2000’s “Christmas Stays the Same,” which is the best-selling release of her solo albums and spawned a 2001 Bravo TV special and DVD release.
It’s something her fans have been asking for for years, and it’s the first album she decided to finance on her own.
“The return is so small (with a record label),” Eder said. “You give up creative control for very little in the end.”
The CD, which currently is available through her website (www.lindaeder.com) and at her concerts, has been available for less than a month, and Eder said she’s already earned back about two-thirds of what she spent on the project.
“This CD is successful,” she said. “I know I’m going to recoup, so I’m going to do another one.”
One idea she incorporated to get her fans involved was allowing them to vote for some of the songs that would be included on the record. The only problem is the top vote getter was “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” one of Eder’s least favorite holiday tunes.
“I’m not crazy about it. I always felt the woman’s melody isn’t as fun as the guy’s.”
Eder got around that by rewriting some of the lyrics and turned it into a duet sung by a mother to a son to keep him from going out in a blizzard. And to sing it with her she recruited her 14-year-old son.
“I was shocked when he said yes … He sounds like a crooner.”
Eder doesn’t know if he’ll follow her into show business. He plays piano and guitar, but he also boxes.
“He’s all boy,” she said.
Eder also doesn’t know when or if she will ever return to the Broadway stage. Her son is one of the reasons she decided to focus on a recording career over musical theater.
“I had my son when I was older, I was 38. He was potentially the only child I might have and I knew what theater would demand of me. Someone else would be raising him and I didn’t want that.”
She’s also not sure she wants to handle the vocal demands of a Broadway lead at this point in her life.
“Maybe one day I’ll do a featured part. I don’t want to do that to my voice. A big belter like me, they want you screaming at the top of your lungs.”