Favorite group for Christmas songs is The Lower Lights. Just discovered Folk Angel(Holiday) Radio on Pandora. Lovely listening!!!
If you are in the mood for some Christmas surf music, nothing beats Los Straitjackets!
I second the Kacey Musgrave album with attention to “Have a really Willy Nice Christmas”. Also John McCutcheon’s song “Christmas in the Trenches”. A true story about WW1. He also does another “Breaking Up Christmas” about an Applalachian tradition. Also Scott Miller’s Christmas Gift album in 2010. “Christmas in Prison” and “Old Toy Trains”.
Merle Haggard: Hag’s Christmas. RIP, Merle.
KEXP in Seattle has some shows that do great Holiday specials, especially Swingin’ Doors on Thursday at 6 and In the Roadhouse on Wednesdays. You can stream them!
I love The Roches, too! Just saw fiddler extraordinaire Mark O’Connor in concert and bought his “An Appalachian Christmas”–also lovely and fresh. Other favorites include: Leon Redbone’s “Christmas Island,” Pink Martini’s “Joy to the World,” and The Klezmatics’ “Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanuka.” Ahh, I’m going to have to listen to Leon sing “That Old Christmas Moon” right now.
Bruce Cockburn has a wonderful Christmas album. It’s way old ('93), but always puts me totally in the holiday mood when it moves into rotation on the playlist. Here, take a listen.
Also, to make you feel transported back to a Victorian Christmas, John Rutter’s “Carols from Clare”. All frosty, and clear harmonies, and hey, where are the little mince tarts for me to nibble with my egg nog?
And if you haven’t got this album, go out right NOW and download it or buy a hard copy. Bells of Dublin is a classic!
Oh my word, how have I never heard of this! These guys are genius.
A great album - it even includes a Hanukkah song – I’m looking at you, Kay : It’s a Holiday Soul Party - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (Sharon is another great that was taken from us this year.)
And a personal favorite, Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses.
EIf you enjoy Irish music, “Drive the Cold Winter Away” by Horslips is highly recommended. If an Appalachian Christmas appeals, check out “Winter Tidings” by Al Petteway and Amy White. For a spicy Cajun sound, try “Christmas Gumbo” by multiple artists. Finally, for fingerstyle guitar, try “Winter Guitar” by Laurence Juber.
In our house it is John Denver and the Muppets traditionally. This year I will try to sneak in the Pentatonix.
I love Tracey Thorn’s Tinsel and Light – her original song Joy hits all the right notes of happiness and sadness rolled into one.
Also: Chris Isaak Christmas!
Yes, Chris Isaak! I love his Christmas album. If you ever get a chance to see him perform, go!
Thanks a lot for putting this out here. I love it. Annie
My fave CDs that I play over and over: Vince Guaraldi “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, James Taylor “At Christmas”, Sting “If on a Winter’s Night” , and Barbra Streisand “Christmas Memories”. What a great topic, taking us all over music playland. Thanks!
I can’t believe I forgot this one. This is a contemporary Irish band out of Yonkers and they are wonderful. If they’re ever playing anywhere near you, I highly recommend seeing them. They are actually from my neighborhood and went to the same elementary school that I did although a few years later (the drummers dad was my basketball coach). There’s never a dry eye in the house for this one.
Holy moley, never heard this before! Bob Dorough is the voice of my childhood - he’s the voice of Schoolhouse Rock! What a fun version of this one.
I really love Winter Song by Sara Bareilles:
And I love the kitsch factor of Happy Holidays. Don’t forget to hang up your sock!!
A Scottish Christmas by Bonnie Rideout can be counted on to get me through the season. My favorite track is “Rorate.”
I have an entire collection. New album every year. I’m a big fan of your Nashville Neighbor Amy Grant. Current fave: Almost There (with Michael Smith) - It’s on his 2014 album, which also includes Carrie Underwood on a piece called All is Well. Just saw the Amy Grant/Smitty Christmas Concert - so great - special guest Jordan Smith from the Voice - he did All is Well, and my goodness - you could have heard a pin drop - amazing. The thing I love best about Amy (besides her voice) is that she is till writing NEW Christmas music (check out “To Be Together” on her new Christmas album) - which become instant favorites - Breath of Heaven, Emmanuel, Heirlooms…Love her.
Another favorite: local group Cantus (man singers. Love, love, love!)
Floating in the “not often heard” bucket is Sting’s version of Angel Gabriel, and the Bare Naked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan for God Rest Ye Mary Gentleman. Last but not least: Christmas Dinner, Peter Paul & Mary.
I could go on and on.