December 2011 Pick Six: Christmas Songs
Way back when I was a kid and more interested in early 80s rock bands, I was “subjected” to all kinds of country music by parents while sitting on the pleather back seat of our family’s baby blue Lincoln Continental. Nowadays, those same songs bring me great comfort and memories of those special days. Nelson’s version of “Pretty Paper” is one of those songs that instantly bring me back. –Ken Morton, Jr.
While I don’t normally associate Christmas with shots of whiskey and swinging bar doors, I gladly honky-tonk up my holiday tunes. Alan Jackson’s Honky Tonk Christmas fits the bill with country weepers, a Merle Haggard cover and a previously taped track with Keith Whitley. My favorite tune on the album is “I Only Want You for Christmas,” because it ties together Jackson’s signature humor and charisma in one neat (red and green) package — and reminds me of nineties-era Christmas mornings when my biggest concern was which Barbie Dream House Santa had delivered my way. – Karlie Justus
Yeah, the Rockwell-esque Christmas Day scenes are all well and good, but they’re hardly realistic. It’s much more likely to find some uncle passed out on the recliner in front of the TV, relatives that you’re not sure how you’re related to and all the assorted griping and sniping that comes with holiday stress. Robert Earl Keen’s whacked-out masterpiece celebrates the warts-and-all spirit of Christmas. — Sam Gazdziak
5. Alan Jackson — “Silent Night”
With the hectic pace of the holidays, it’s difficult to find time to appreciate the ample blessings in our lives. Regardless of singer or genre, “Silent Night” always radiates with a graceful calm and reinforces the special bond between mother and child. In our mile-a-minute world, the song is a quiet plea for peace and comfort. — Blake Boldt
Aside from the fact that our ceramic, illuminated Christmas village always has a red-light district, we’re much for tradition in my family: for Christmas dinner as a kid I’d often end up chowing down puri and shaak made by my Indian grandmother rather than ham or turkey. This is probably why Fleck’s version of the otherwise execrable “Jingle Bells” appeals to me. It’s recognizable as the Christmas classic, but the Tuvan throat-singing (from Alash) and jazz banjo make it weird and wonderful, just like those Christmases as a kid. — Juli Thanki
- Donald: LOS, I need to second your mention of Ballad of Forty Dollars.
- Paul W Dennis: Best wishes for Jim Ed Brown - there's very few left from his generation of country singers John Morthland's article on …
- Paul W Dennis: That looks like Harold Morrison playing the dobro behind Jeannie C Riley on "Harper Valley PTA"
- luckyoldsun: Got to go with "The Ballad of Forty Dollars." Funny, if you saw the title and started listening to that song …
- Randy Prewitt: I would have to say my favorite Tom T.Hall song is "The Day Clayton Delaney Died.He has so many great …
- KathyP: "Faster Horses." Which reminds me I need to add it to my digital library.
- Leeann Ward: "Me and Jesus" and "Harper Valley PTA" are my favorites, I think. But I agree with Paul that it's not …
- Chad: "I Love" of course!
- nm: I enjoyed that Nashville recap from the Fug Girls, but the absolutely best recaps are in the Nashville Scene, by …
- Donald: "Don't Forget the Coffee, Billy Joe" is just one of my many favourites!