Oh GAH HELP! We’re straight-up not interested in anybody suggesting “Jingle Bell Rock,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” I’m sorry, but we need to go deeper, people. What’s the holiday music you like that is maybe a little less familiar?
I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for but my favorite Christmas CDs, in no particular order, are She and Him, Bette Midler, Chris Isaac, Johnnyswim, Carole King, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Aaron Neville and the soundtrack from Elf.
This definitely should be familiar, but Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas record came out last month & is in heavy rotation in my house. (Last year was all about Willie Nelson. I like to mix it up.)
If you like indie-music I highly reccomend the album A christmas album from the band Bright Eyes. Its so mellow! Their version of a little drummer boy is amazing. Sufjan Stevens also has some great albums with his own versions of the traditional xmas songs, but also many songs of his own.
Bella Fleck and the Flecktones, Jingle All the Way
Imani Woodwinds, This Christmas (especially their arrangement of Sleigh Ride)
Of course the Charlie Brown Christmas album
Every year it’s the soundtrack to Little Women for me…Mark and the boys let me listen to it exactly one time.
Sheffield Carols - group sings of lesser known traditional tunes. Here’s an example from Jon Boden’s Folk Song A Day of ‘While Shepherds Watched’ to a much more interesting tune. My favourite is Diadem.
Every year we listen to the Kipper Family. Not always soothing to the ear but very funny.
This one-which was hard to find a few years ago. Hearing Robert Downey Jr. sing River is worth it!
I’ve got a lovely album by Annie Lennox called “A Christmas Cornucopia”.
It’s near the top of my Christmas playlist.
I’m never in the holiday spirit until I hear something from The Roches’ Christmas album, We Three Kings. Packed with 24 songs, you can totally hear how the three sisters got their start on their famous three-part harmonies around the piano and guitar at Christmas! The innovation on old chestnuts is great too - I can’t hear Frosty the Snowman anymore without the put-on New Yawk accent, and one of my classic favorites, Good King Wenceslas, gently rocks with a natural country swing. Star of Wonder, an a cappella original, tells a haunting tale of a shepherdess on that fateful night. And of course they include their favorite party-trick - applying that three-part harmony to a bit of the Messiah on For Unto Us a Child is Born.
I do love that Annie Lennox one too! Very Ye Olde Christmas!
OK, @Ann1, here are some lovely, non-mainstream, holiday albums:
Wintersong - a mix of cheerful, southern dance music mixed with quiet, 4-part harmony
Voices of Winter - a mix of beautiful 4-part harmony on traditional folk tunes and fun indie songwriter pieces.
The same group who did Voices of Winter have a second winter album called At the Turning of the Year.
Not an album suggestion, but head on over to YouTube and enjoy Blossom Dearie and Bob Dorough romping through “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” A friend made a Christmas CD for me years ago and this gem was on it. “Arch” might be one way to describe the performance. Not everyone is a Blossom Dearie fan, I realize it’s an acquired taste, but I did see her perform years ago: “Peel Me A Grape” is indelible.
Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas albums make me happy!
Such good ideas - love this topic! The new Kacey Musgraves Christmas album was playing in my daughter’s car yesterday while we were out & about, and it sounded great - fresh takes on the traditional and a couple of songs she wrote herself. Kacey’s bringing country music star aspirations to a whole new generation!
(P.S. This is my first Lounge post - thanks, y’all for welcoming me!)
i’m listening to a sunday afternoon radio show on Columbia University’s WKCR right now called : “tennessee border” and today it’s all about fabulous old country Christmas sounds that you might love @Ann1.
A few years ago the British music magazine Mojo put out a Christmas compilation that is super! Gorgeous unusual stuff and some old soul chestnuts…
Squeeze! I loved them so much. I have this on a white vinyl 45 somewhere.
And because I have a weak spot for melancholy Christmas songs and a young Matt Dillon.
Ooh, “River” reminds me of this compilation, which includes a lot of my folk-y faves (Peter Mulvey, Erin McKeown, Richard Shindell, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, etc): Wonderland
My favorite artist has a beautiful Christmas album: Henkäys ikuisuudesta (Breath from Heaven) by Tarja Turunen. It has songs in both English and Finnish. Here is a YouTube version of my favorite from the album, You Would Have Loved This:
I also love Enya’s Christmas album, as well as The King’s Singers.