I’m married to a Christmas music junkie. Every year in early autumn, my wife has to fight the urge to get out the Martina McBride Christmas CD. I really think it’s her favorite kind of music. So, as you might imagine, we’ve amassed quite a collection of holiday music over the years. I get a little tired of the same old traditional favorites, so I’m always on the look for Christmas music that’s a little “off the beaten path”.
This year, I picked up several free and low cost holiday songs over the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. I’ve mixed several of them in with some of my favorites from the past few years to create a playlist I’ve entitled “An Eclectic Holiday Jam”. Tired of hearing “Feliz Navidad” playing for the hundredth time on your lite FM holiday station? Give these tunes a try.
- “Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan. I was a bit skeptical when I heard Dylan was releasing a Christmas album a few years ago and I have no idea if the whole thing is good. But this song has become one of our favorites around here. My kids especially love it.
- “It Snowed” by Meaghan Smith. I could listen to this one all day.
- “Green Grows the Holly” by Calexico. A bit slow, layered with acoustic guitar, shimmering cymbals and a faint horn line. Beautiful.
- “Jingle Bells” by BNL. “Jingle bells / Batman smells / Robin laid an egg…” Exactly.
- “The Christmas Waltz” by She & Him.
- “Lumberjack Christmas / No One Can Save You From Christmases Past” by Sufjan Stevens. I can’t even explain this one. You just have to listen.
- “Angels We Have Heard On High” by David Crowder Band. A banjo-centric take on a classic holiday hymn.
- “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Mexicani Marimba Band. I hated this song. Then I heard this instrumental version.
- “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by The Civil Wars. My wife loves these guys. I think the song’s a bit on the “breathy” side, but what am I gonna do?
- “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Fruit Bats. Yes, the band’s name is Fruit Bats. And yes, it’s good. Imagine Gram Parsons recording this song.
- “Silver Bells” by Moon in the Morning.
- “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Rufus Wainwright.Another typically cringe-inducing song done right.
- “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” by Jars of Clay.
- “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” by The Head and the Heart. I’d listen to anything these guys record. My favorite new band from 2011.
- “Auld Lange Syne” by The Lonesome Travelers. An instrumental bluegrasss outro to close things out.
There you have it, folks. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas!