A Gulf Coast mixture of seasonal stories, a very Texas take on the holiday, and an album that brings in the bittersweet and the joyous sides of the Christmas season. Each contains fs songs which consider and celebrate the season, and which you may not have heard before. Give a listen.
Del Suggs makes what he calls saltwater music, a sort of Jimmy Buffet meets James Taylor meets Brad Paisley sort of style that suits the musician’s north Florida Gulf Coast origins. For a good few years now Suggs has been gathering friends including Pierce Pettis, Mimi Hearn, and Danica Winter for a country, folk, jazz, blues, saltwater style north Florida Christmas concert in Tallahassee. Now, they’ve also gathered up that spirit to put it on record. The album is called Almost Christmas.
Tish Hinojosa brings her Mexican American heritage to her album From Texas for a Christmas Night.There are songs in English and in Spanish, from tradtional sources and contemporary, and from Hinojosa’s own pen as well. A favorite at her holiday concerts worldwide and especially in her longtime hometown of Austin is Arbolito, a funny story of her yearly chats with her Christmas tree, which she sings, as she does on this recording, in both English and Spanish versions. In a Christmas Dream and Milagro are gentle and joyous celebrations of the hope and goodness of the season. Building #9 finds Hinojosa imagining a different turn to the Christmas story. Hanukia, as its tile suggests, is a song about Hanukkah sung in Spanish, while A La Nanita Nana is the story of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to rest, and is often sung during posadas re enacting that search in Hispanic communities at the holiday season.
On Northern Lights, Gretchen Peters offers a collection that may be just the thing if you’ve had a little too much holiday elevator music and plastic candy canes. The Nashville based songwriter knows that the season of Christmas encompasses reflection, loneliness, and the need to reach out for others as much as it does joy, connection, and hope. She brings these ideas together in a masterful selection of songs, including the carol In the Bleak Midwinter. Gordon Lightfoot’s many faceted look at being alone on Christmas Song for a Winter’s Night, and her own thought reflection weaving the hope of the first Christmas into the hope of Christmas present in Waitin’ on Mary. Hope and joy are present too, along with a dash of humor, just like real holiday celebrations, and like many real holiday celebrations, the album winds to a thoughtful close with Silent Night.
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