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Sunday, December 16, 2018

featuring the very best of americana, and roots music
December 16, 2018
Scott Foley, purveyor of dust

So much Christmas.  So many jingle.  This year Routes & Branches shoehorns a full thirty holiday-themed songs into your stocking, most new to 2018 and all suitable for playing throughout your Christmas week(s).  It's the only way we've ever been especially good at the Santa thing, especially seeing as our three kids (now each a variation on grown) all gave up on the Man With the Bag before they turned seven.  I believe I held on tight until I was thirty, least as far as my parents were concerned.

This year brings us freshly wrapped, brightly bowed new stuff from folks like Phoebe Bridgers, Left Arm Tan and Wade Bowen.  Shinyribs drops a last-second full-length gift idea, and the legendary garage rocker Mitch Ryder covers both the Sonics and Stevie Wonder for the children's holiday delight.  Because Christmas is all about tradition, we reach into the far dusty corners of the basement to regift reverent carols from El Vez and Lightnin' Hopkins, and good god it's all our kind of music!

We wanted you to open this generous and heartfelt gift a little early this year, just in case you needed to return it.  Also, dropping the thing as originally planned on Christmas Eve wouldn't give you a whole lot of time to let it spin on repeat.  Not sure what we'll plan for our ROUTES-cast on the 24th, but good new stuff keeps getting released as we careen towards the New Year, so perhaps we'll just let loose another Episode bursting with those forthcoming gems.

- Mavericks, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" Hey! Merry Christmas!  (Mono Mundo, 18)
- Left Arm Tan, "Run Run Rudolph" single  (LAT, 18)
- Los Straitjackets, "Christmas in Las Vegas" Complete Christmas Songbook  (Yep Roc, 18)
- Mitch Ryder, "Santa Claus" Christmas (Take a Ride)  (Goldenlane, 18)
- Amy Helm w/Wood Brothers, "Christmas Must Be Tonight" single  (Spotify, 18)
- Valerie June, "Winter Wonderland" An Americana Christmas  (New West, 14)
- Old 97s, "I Believe in Santa Claus" I Love the Holidays  (ATO, 18)
- McCrary Sisters, "Go Tell It On the Mountain" single  (Rounder, 18)
- Squirrel Nut Zippers, "Mardi Gras for Christmas"  single  (Southern Broadcasting, 18)
- Lightnin' Hopkins, "Santa" Essential Recordings  (Purple Pyramid, 00)
- Shinyribs, "Santa Comes to Atlanta" Kringle Tingle  (Mustard Lid, 18)
- Otis Gibbs, "Color Wheel" Once I Dreamed of Christmas  (Wanamaker, 03/18)
- Staves, "Home Alone Too" single  (Warner, 18)
- Minus 5, "Christmas in Antarctica" single  (Yep Roc, 18)
- Joel Paterson, "Jingle Bells" Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar  (Bloodshot, 17)
- El Vez, "Santa Claus is Sometimes Brown" Merry MeX-mas  (Sympathy for the Record Industry, 94)
- Jim James, "Oh My Christmas Tree" single  (Spotify, 18)
- Molly Parden, "In Tennessee Time" Season's Greetings From Nashville  (Musician's Corner, 18)
- JD McPherson, "Every Single Christmas" SOCKS  (New West, 18)
- Whitehorse, "2000 Miles" A Whitehorse Winter Classic  (Six Shooter, 18)
- Lambchop, "The December-ish You" This (is what I wanted to tell you)  (Merge, 19)  D
- Leftover Salmon, "Six Feet of Snow" High Country  (LoS, 14)
- Rodney Crowell, "Christmas For the Blues" Christmas Everywhere  (New West, 18)
- Phoebe Bridgers, "Christmas Song" single  (Dead Oceans, 18)
- Carolyn Mark, "Song For the Girl With Two of Everything" It's a Team Mint Xmas Vol. 2  (Mint, 04)
- Dale Watson, "Santa and My Semi" Christmas Time in Texas  (Red River, 01)
- Wade Bowen, "Cold December"  single  (Bowen, 18)
- Lumineers, "Pretty Paper" single  (Dualtone, 18)
- Mitch Ryder, "Someday at Christmas" Christmas (Take a Ride)  (Goldenlane, 18)
- Aretha Franklin, "Silent Night (Solo Piano Version)" single  (Warner, 18)

Though it's been said many times many ways ... raise a glass of whatever to the great spirit of music discovery.  We direct a holiday card to all the artists who have sent fans our way.  We linger uncomfortably 'neath the mistletoe with the promoters and labels who value what we do here at R&B HQ, sending stuff our way to preview and to share.  We snuggle close together like two birds of a feather with other like-minded bloggers who include Routes & Branches among their links.  But most of all, we stare in wonder at the vast winter night sky with you, the listener and music lover who make a point to visit us on a regular basis, you who have told a trusted friend about your discovery, and all of you who share our passion for music that matters.  For you: This ROUTES-cast.

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