14 thoughts on “Christmas Music

  1. Chad

    I’m thanking Baby Jesus for James Taylor’s “At Christmas” I can’t say it’s my all time favorite, but it’s my favorite this year.

    Lemme just give ya’ll a rundown:

    Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta
    Bass: Jimmy Johnson, (the late, great) Dave Carpenter
    Guitar: JT, Michael Landau
    Piano / Arranging : Dave Grusin

    JT and Dave Grusin take schmaltz like Winter Wonderland and Santa Clause is Coming to Town and make it art. Note perfect, top to bottom. This record has the single best arrangement of Go Tell it On The Mountain I’ve ever heard, as well as a totally exquisite take on the usually drunkenly murdered Auld Lang Syne, and then beautiful arrangements of In The Bleak Midwinter and Some Children See Him just for a bonus.

    In fact, the only bad track is the irredeemably irritating “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Quote my wife the other night in the car while this track is playing, “Sheesh, honey… just give it up already.”

    I love this woman.


  2. June

    I’m not sure it will become a favorite of all time (it may) but as of this week, it’s Straight No Chaser’s new Christmas cd, Holiday Spirits. It almost (but not quite) makes me want to move to Indiana…mostly when they sing “Indiana Christmas.” I also enjoyed seeing/hearing them on Christmas in Washington last night. I called my boys out of their beds to watch the last 20 minutes of it and teared up as I realized my seven-year-old thought that everyone who was singing believed every word they were saying.

  3. Scott

    Right now, I’ve gotta go with A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s the right mix of fun and depth, sans the idiocy and high-fructose sentimentality.

  4. Zack

    Wow, Chad. I don’t think I’ve ever had to disagree more. In fact, the James Taylor Christmas record is one of only a handful of CD’s I’ve ever thrown out of a moving car in disgust. Yuck.

    But I shouldn’t even be allowed to comment on this topic, seeing as about 75% of Christmas music makes me slightly nauseous. Maybe it’s the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or all those lyrics about murder.

  5. Sharolyn

    Zack, you got me. I disagreed, too, but it’s because I love that CD and I thought Chad was a bit too harsh on JT’s duet with Natalie Cole.

    But I gave him a pass. After all, he is Hyperbole Man.

    Just to clarify, there are two James Taylor Christmas CDs. Perhaps you would love the other one (snicker).

  6. Eric

    The Darkest Midnight – Irish soprano Nórín Ní Riain with the Monks of Glenstal Abbey. Probably a little esoteric (a LITTLE?), but she has the voice of an angel and sings in the ancient Gaelic sean nós style. It’s an eclectic mix of pieces ranging from Gregorian chant (the Magnificat) to music by a 20th century Swiss mystic whose name escapes me for the moment. Not without its flaws (the monks keep going flat), but it is really beautiful, otherworldly and compelling.


  7. Zack

    Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some JT. (In fact, I think I’m personally responsible for turning you into a fan, Chad) But there’s something with that new Christmas record of his that doesn’t sit right with me. I dunno what it is that bugs me, and considering the last time I saw the CD, )it was flying outta my window at 80mph) I doubt I will.

    As for the new Dailies record – expect my full, no-holds-barred, torturously scathing review very soon. It will be posted on this very website…

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