Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Mix



"Morning Star" (The Brantley Family Band)
"Christmas Time Is Here" (Thad Cockrell and Roman Candle)
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (Trekky Yuletide Orchestra)
"Little Drum Machine Girl" (Gerty!)
"Oh It's Christmas" (The Rosebuds)
"Feliz Navidad" (The dB's)

Well, I meant to run this as a series all week, but that's not happening. Here's a mix of old and new Christmas music from local bands. A quick rundown of what's what:

This year, Jim Brantley (currently with Bull City, formerly of the Balance and Ashley Stove) put out his third on-line Christmas card (here's 2005 and 2004). They tend to be a mix of the lovely and the silly, and this instrumental version of the Moravian hymn "Morning Star" is definitely the former. (Check this death-metal "Silent Night" for the latter!) The Moravian influence is pretty strong around Winston-Salem, and since Jim's from around there, as am I, this one makes me happy.

"Christmas Time Is Here" is an original song, not the Vince Guaraldi classic from A Charlie Brown Christmas, but it's a great collaboration between Triangle expat Thad Cockrell and still-local Roman Candle. This is a new addition to the expanded re-release of the Chris Stamey/dB's Christmas Time album; the charmingly loose dB's cover of "Feliz Navidad" is from the original. (Buy/download)

At some point before new-wavers Gerty morphed into the Ex-Members, they recorded a Christmas CD, which is the source of "Little Drum Machine Girl". If you are thinking of Beck's "Little Drum Machine Boy", this is a more straightforward adaptation of the traditional song, but with some Gerty flair.

One of two local benefit compliations released this year, Trekky Records A New Old-Fashioned Christmas is a surprisingly (to me) conventional collection of traditional holiday songs. I know it says "old-fashioned" in the name, but I didn't really expect the conventional song selection and straightforward arrangements from members of the Never and the other Trekky bands. It's good stuff, though, and I love this version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", one of my favorite Christmas songs. Proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, so buy a copy here.

The other benefit compilation is Have a Holly Raleigh Christmas, which is for the benefit of local high school music programs. (Read more about it here.) I haven't actually gotten my hands on this one, so the sound quality of the Rosebuds song is poor, but hey, it's the Rosebuds. This sounds exactly like what you would think the Rosebuds singing about Christmas would sound like. (If anything, it's a bit of a throwback to their earlier songs, given the somewhat more somber tone of their recent album.) Buy a copy here, or shop in Raleigh (list of merchants here).

So, Merry Christmas (or other appropriate seasonal wishes). Don't look for much from me next week, but New Year's resolution number 1 is to get back on a regular weekly schedule with this thing.

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