Album Review: The Sweetback Sisters — Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular

Juli Thanki | December 20th, 2012

sweetbacksistersxmasListening to the harmonies of Sweetback Sisters Zara Bode and Emily Miller could put a smile on the Grinch’s sour, green face.

Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular is the result of the Brooklyn-based band’s annual holiday concerts, which have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Here, the six-person band romps through a collection of seasonal classics like “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” along with a couple unexpected selections, like a thoroughly enjoyable cover of Loretta Lynn’s sassy breakup song, “Happy Birthday.”

The six-piece band serves up classic country, rockabilly, and even a bit of swing on the fifteen song record; there’s a song and a sound for every moment of the holiday season, from the raucous, call-and-response party tune “Must be Santa” to the steel-guitar-laced “Christmas Island,” gentle as a palm tree swaying in the breeze. There’s even a tribute to the Jingle Cats with a meowed version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing;” thankfully, it’s only forty seconds long. The album’s one original, “Nine Days of Christmas,” (written and sung by Jesse Milnes, the band’s fiddler), is a boozy honky-tonking heartbreaker: “I’m not drinking beer or champagne/ The bubbles only make me think of you/ I’m cooking up a cocktail for Christmas/ And I’m opening up packages for two.”

Whether you’re full of the holiday spirit, or just some holiday spirits, turn it up and sing along.

4 Stars

Preview or purchase The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular

  1. Rick
    December 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I’m not one much for Christmas music, but if I was going to get a new Christmas album this would be it. I really like the sound and style of the Sweetback Sisters outfit no matter what they tackle. That rippin fiddle and twangin’ stratocaster can make almost anything sound good! I just wish they would book a gig or two in the Los Angeles area sometime soon. Oh well…

  2. Leeann Ward
    December 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    They were at my favorite venue in Maine, Stone Mountain Art Center, this month with their Christmas Sing-along show, but I sadly had to miss it. The album is fun though.

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Current Discussion

  • Leeann Ward: Thanks, NM. I like a good pop hook, to be honest. So, maybe I need to try it again.
  • Barry Mazor: OK, Jim Z. That changes everything. I surrender.
  • Jim Z: to call the Dirty River Boys an "Austin area band" is still incorrect. They are based in El Paso.
  • nm: Leeann, you and I often have similar tastes in more-traditional country. And, to my ears, Sam Hunt's voice and lyrics …
  • Barry Mazor: Matter of fact, as always--I did. The notes say the album was recorded & mixed by and at "The …
  • Roger: Looking forward to picking up the Jamey Johnson Christmas EP - love all of those songs and can't wait for …
  • Jim Z: that record was recorded in El Paso. (you could look it up) and other than appearing in Austin once in …
  • Leeann Ward: Yes, I can always use more dobro in my life! Thanks for the Phil Leadbetter tip! I haven't been able to …
  • Barry Mazor: OK, Jim. The record's more or less out of Austin. But I'm sure they're also good in El Paso...
  • Jim Z: Dirty River Boys are from El Paso, Texas.

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