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!
one of my favorite “freebies” is the Paste sampler that came out last week. It’s got a strong lineup.