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
- Barry Mazor: I'll have to see if Dr. Green's ever read 3 Lives; it's a good book.
- Juli Thanki: Rose is a rose is a rose is a yellow rose of Texas. I smell a terrible concept album!
- Barry Mazor: Pigeons on the grass, alas.. Come-a kai-yai yippy, yippy ay.
- Ken Morton, Jr.: Barry, thanks for the great sentimental look at Winchester. I will admit that he is an artist that was largely …
- Arlene: Thanks for this article, Barry. It's not often that an artist brings another performer to tears during a guitar pull. …
- Leeann: At any rate, I'll still look forward to his next album, because I'm a fan of his music.
- Leeann: Yes, if he had said that, I'd be with him, but e lumped all of country music, including the Grand …
- mrsandy: My understanding is Emmylou's concert was cancelled was because her 92-y.o. mother passed away.
- Erik North: I would have to say that, even though I agree that JTE does generalize about country music excessively, I also …
- Leeann: I think he generalized way too much, too black and white. He reminded me too much of Ryan Adams, who …