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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

ROUTES & BRANCHES
December 1, 2012
Scott Foley

Part of my internet trolling this time of year involves tracking down new holiday music online.  Despite the fact that I exhibit at least a couple symptoms of being a music snob, I really enjoy Christmas music.  This isn't a common trait among elitists, so I don't know if I'll get my card rescinded for admitting that I do frequently tune my car radio to the area's cheese-tastic 24 hour holiday station.  My children aren't so disappointed when I'm unable to drive them to school these days ...

I typically begin the sneak Christmas music into the mix in the days following Thanksgiving (because any earlier would be in poor taste), and incrementally increase my percentage of holiday play in the weeks leading up to the 25th.  My final show immediately before Christmas boasts an inescapable hail of the stuff, with my 3 kids in attendance for good measure.  I remain unapologetic in my passion for holiday music, and I'm surrounded by folks who would just as soon I return to playing all-Arliss-Nancy-all-of-the-time!

Nevertheless, this season I will make the assumption that I am not alone, that there are others of my ilk out there.  For their sake, I will attempt a list of my own 5 favorite americana, alt.country and/or roots music albums for the holidays:

  1. Emmylou Harris, Light Of the Stable
  2. Various Artists, To Kate: a Benefit
  3. Bruce Cockburn, Christmas
  4. Over the Rhine, Snow Angels
  5. Ray Charles, Spirit Of Christmas 
 ... you say Ray Charles doesn't fit?   I'll take any excuse to fit "Spirit Of Christmas" into a show.  Even if it's 60 degrees and mostly sunny. 

'Course, it wouldn't be R&B without a special nod to a couple other Christmas classics.  Specifically, one of the most romantic songs of all time, "Fairytale Of New York" by the Pogues w/Kirsty MacColl, and the song that's come closest to it over the last several years, Diamond Rugs' "Christmas In a Chinese Restaurant".  I'll also cast a vote for a song that I've aired every year since its 2004 release, Be Good Tanyas' ode-to-a-froze-hobo "Rudy".


*  Glen Campbell, "Any Trouble"  Ghost On the Canvas  (Surfdog, 11)
*  Carolyn Mark, "Mellie's Book"  Queen Of Vancouver Island  (Mint, 12)
*  Rachel Harrington, "He's My Man"  Makin' Our House a Honkytonk  (Skinny Dennis, 12)
*  Turn 4, "Slaughter House"  Spokes Buzz Vol 3: Band Together  (Spokes Buzz, 12)   D
*  Jimmy LaFave, "White Christmas"  internet single  (Self, 12)   D
*  Yarn, "Bring Me Down"  Leftovers Vol 2  (Ardsley, 12)   D
*  Sarah Gayle Meech, "Old White Boots"  One Good Thing  (Self, 12)   D
*  Drive-By Truckers, "72 (this highway's mean)"  Southern Rock Opera  (Lost Hwy, 02)
*  Legendary River Drifters, "Eternity Blues"  Dirtier Harryer  (Self, 12)   D
*  Dirty River Boys, "Youngblood Blues"  Science Of Flight  (Thirty Tigers, 12)
*  Holly Golightly, "That's What I Want For Christmas"  Holidays Rule  (Hear, 12)
*  Larry & His Flask, "Big Ride"  Hobo's Lament  (Self, 12)
*  Adrienne Young, "Walls Of Jericho"  Art Of Virtue  (Addie Belle, 05)
*  Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil, "Thorns Of Gold"  Catch the Presidents  (Self, 12)   D
*  First Aid Kit, "King Of the World"  Lion's Roar  (Wichita, 12)
*  Chris McGarry, "California Zephyr"  Bare Bright Halos  (Self, 12)
*  Bruce Robison, "What Would Willie Do"  Country Sunshine  (Boar's Nest, 01)
*  Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, "Train That Carried My Gal From Town"  Buddy & Jim  (New West, 12)
*  Be Good Tanyas, "Rudy"  Winter's Night  (Nettwerk, 04)
*  Jessse Dayton, "Nashville Casualty & Life"  Jesse Sings Kinky  (Stag, 12)
^  Rachel Brooke, "Black Bird"  Killer's Dream  (Mal, 12)   D
*  Grant Sabin, "Dreaming"  Anthromusicology  (Blank Tape, 13)   D
*  Townes Van Zandt, "Loretta (live)"  Rear View Mirror Vol 2  (Varese Sarabande, 04)
*  Waco Bros w/Paul Burch, "Cannonball"  Great Chicago Fire  (Bloodshot, 12)



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