The film, which stars Billy Ray as Daniel Burton, is the sequel to the 2009 hit made-for-TV movie, 'Christmas in Canaan,' and tells the story of Daniel's efforts to aid in the recovery of his son, who has been badly injured in an auto accident. The film also reunites him with Matt Ward, the actor who portrays Rodney Freeman, the young African American man Daniel took into his home in the first film and who has since become a famous writer. Although he had a few stipulations about reprising his role, Billy Ray says that ultimately he related to the character he played, dealing with issues of racism and adversity.
"Since the first film was so widely acclaimed," the Kentucky native notes, "I said I'd only do it if they could top the first. When I read the script, it seemed like it could, so I said 'let's go for it!' It's a great story, and I can't wait for people to see it."
Watch a preview of the movie here.
While plans for a new album are underway, Billy Ray used 'Christmas Comes Home to Canaan' as inspiration for a brand-new song called 'Home.' Watch its touching video here, featuring clips from the movie.
As for his New Year's resolutions, Billy Ray says his mission remains to "continue to spread happiness and joy in every way I can, and try to get out and play for my fans around the world." He also has a handful of new TV and movie projects in the works and acknowledges that 'Some Gave All,' the album that featured his mega-hit, 'Achy Breaky Heart,' has also given endless opportunities to honor our men and women in uniform.
"I always try and play my music for the soldiers and salute the troops, that's what 'Surprise Homecoming' (the TLC series he hosted celebrating America's heroes returning stateside to surprise their loved ones) was all about. That's what it's always been about for me, since 1989, when I met the veteran who inspired 'Some Gave All.' I've always made music with the troops in mind."
'Christmas Comes Home to Canaan' will air Dec. 23 at 4:00 PM ET on the Hallmark Channel.