In the season of winter holidays, road trips to visit friends and family, travels to see holiday events nearby and at distance, shopping trips, travels of all sorts, expected and unexpected figure into plans. To put you in the mood for seasonal adventure music is a fine thing to take along on these trips, wherever you might be going and whatever sort of weather and traveling companions you might have.
If lighthearted retro swing holiday songs pique your fancy, The Sweetback Sisters have a new album out that even by its title invites you to join in. Country Christmas Sing-A-Long includes the group’s lively and original take on well known songs of the season as well as music you may not have heard before. Either way, you may very well be accepting their invitation to sing along before the album’s done.
If instrumental music is what you are looking for, then give a listen to guitarist Ottmar Liebert’s Christmas + Santa Fe. A resepcted and creative player and composer in the style known as nuevo flamenco, for the holidays Liebert pairs familiar seasonal melodies with his own compositions inspired by that music and his residence in northern New Mexico. His tune Santa Dancing meets Deck the Halls, for example, while Canyon Road on Christmas Eve is pared with Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Should classical music be what you’d like to hear, you’ll want to give a listen to Ceremony of Carols a new album that is a collaboration between the Etherea Vocal Ensemble and Grace Cloutier on harp and Alan Murchie on organ. They offer a program which begins with the title music by Benjamin Britten and concludes with Dancing Day from John Rutter, with works by Gounod, Rutter, and others along the way as well. It’s a vibrant collection that respects both the music and the season.
Perhaps you’d like winter music that isn’t exactly Christmas in tone? Prayer for Peace could fill that bill — eight Native American artists, including flute player R. Carlos Nakai and singer Joanne Shenandoah, gather to share songs which offer hope and inspiration for a message all people share.
Circling back to where we started this journey, that idea of a sing along of well known and well loved carols: Michael Martin Murphey has you covered there, with his album Acoustic Christmas Carols: Cowboy Christmas II. His first Cowboy Christmas album is a fine one too, focusing mainly on contemporary music including Corn Water and Wood and Two Step ‘Round the Christmas Tree. For Acoustic Christmas Carols, though, it is just what the title says, a collection of carols you’ll feel right at home singing with or playing as a soundtrack to your holiday memories. .
As you travel by road and by imagination this holiday season, the work of these musicians offers you good company.
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