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Sunday, December 18, 2011


ROUTES & BRANCHES
December 17, 2011
Scott Foley

My favorite holiday song of the year comes from an unlikely "supergroup" composed of John McCauley (Deer Tick), Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Ian Saint Pé (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate) and Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite), calling themselves Diamond Rugs.  Apparently, McCauley's outing with Middle Brother hasn't extinguished his desire for such gatherings.  Last year about this time, I waxed on about another favorite, "Fairytale Of New York" by Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.  You might trace a thread between that drunken holiday classic and this one, with John McCauley spitting teeth around lyrics like, "I ate Chinese food on Christmas day / You kicked me out 'cause I told the kids / That Santa's sleigh did not exist / I was drunk and you got pissed / But anyway have a very merry Christmas".  Like Shane McGowan's bleak picture of interpersonal dysfunction, it's not necessarily a great song to play while the kids are opening their presents.  But, home from church with the kids deep in their covers, it might be just the thing to go along with a glass of brandy ...

Next Episode, I'll yank my three kids from those blankets to join me on my Christmas Eve show, where there will be no refuge for those looking to escape holiday songs.  From the traditional and reverent to the irreverent and tipsy, with the kids each bringing along a tune of their choice (that will traditionally be more popular than anything I choose to air).  I'll unleash my favorite albums list on the December 31 Episode, followed by my favorite 2011 songs on January 7.  

* Sam Baker, "Angel Hair"  Cotton  (Music Road, 09)
*  Over the Rhine, "Only God Can Save Us Now"  Long Surrender  (GSD, 11)
*  Los Straightjackets, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"  internet single  (Yep Roc, 11)
*  Ana Egge, "Chestnut Tree"  Bad Blood  (Ammal, 11)
*  John Statz, "Honest"  Old Fashioned  (Yer Bird, 12)
*  Drive-by Truckers, "Perfect Timing (live)"  Live From Austin TX  (New West, 10)
*  Hem, "Identical Snowflakes"  internet  single  (Hem, 11)
*  Great American Taxi, "Olden Days"  Paradise Lost  (Self, 11)
*  Folk Uke, "Nobody Blues"  Reincarnation  (Self, 11)
^  Diamond Rugs, "Christmas In a Chinese Restaurant"  internet single  (Partisan, 12)
*  Amelia White, "Beautiful & Wild"  Beautiful & Wild  (Self, 12)
*  Longest Day of the Year, "Calla Lily Lady"  Turn Into the Ground  (Mulewax, 12)
*  Ryan Adams, "Dirty Rain"  Ashes & Fire  (Lost Hwy, 11)
*  Wood Brothers, "Rebel Jesus"  My Favorite Gifts  (Ramseur, 11)
*  Lydia Loveless, "How Many Women"  Indestructible Machine  (Bloodshot, 11)
*  Jon Boland, "Top Hat"  Lightning In the Wires  (Self, 12)
*  Bob Schneider, "All I Want For Christmas (live)"  Live At the Paramount Theatre  (Brando, 11)
*  Radney Foster, "LA Freeway"  This One's For Him  (Icehouse, 12)
*  Gretchen Peters, "Sunday Morning (Up and Down My Street)"  15 Song Career Retrospective  (Self, 11)
*  Candi Staton, "Cry Baby Cry"  Who's Hurting Now  (Honest Jons, 11)
*  American Gun, "Little Manger"  internet single  (Self, 10)
*  Emmylou Harris, "Light Of the Stable"  Light Of the Stable  (Rhino, 75)
*  Jim White, "Infinite Mind"  Where It Hits You  (Yep Roc, 12)
*  Bob Rea, "Someday's Gone"  Ragged Choir  (Shiny Dime, 11)
*  Civil Wars, "Tracks In the Snow"  Tracks In the Snow EP  (Self, 10)
*  William Topley, "Sweet Love TN"  South On Velvet Clouds  (Self, 11)
*  David Ball, "Santa Send Some Texas"  Greatest Christmas  (Self, 11)

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