Jingle Bells Fridays – look, it’s snowing!

Photo: J. Aird

And so we reach the penultimate Jingle Bells Friday for the year – and if it really seems like December just flies by then this is your chance to take a festive pause and just sit back and relax whilst sweet, sweet, seasonal Americana fills your ears.  It’s like a musical cinnamon stick, or a tuneful chocolate log.  Or any other simile that seems apt to you dear festive reader.  After last week’s folky yulefest there was a promise of more “mainstream” Americana this week – if that’s not an oxymoron – so you can be the judge on whether we’ve followed through on that or alternatively whether our negotiation posture was nothing but a front for an empty promise.  Awww…you can trust us.

And we feel on fairly solid ground (despite the ice) with this dark and brooding song from The White Buffalo, taken from the recently released album ‘Year of the Dark Horse‘.  Jake Smith (a.k.a. The White Buffalo) says the album “is a sonic and lyrical journey of one lunar year in one man’s life.  Four seasons in 12 songs… Loosely based on my twisted truths and adventures. I wanted to show the seasonal effect on the heart and the mind. I also wanted to abandon, sonically, everything. Escape the acoustic clutches and genres I’ve been associated with and shackled to. I wanted to make my headphones album. Every song bleeds into the next.

Jay Gavin tells us what we perhaps are almost starting to realise – ‘It’s Almost Christmas‘.  It’s worse than just the usual seasonal tensions though as Gavin takes us through some of the real issues that might arise – as he explains the song is “a dark yet nostalgic and upbeat Americana holiday song that tries to shine a light on the pressures of navigating the holidays on a working wage while also capturing the spirit of Christmas that we remember.

Now, admittedly, Geoffrey Le Goaziou does sound quite folky – but it’s an Americana folk influenced by the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver.  On this song he quite beautifully contrasts intimate, delicately accompanied verses with shimmering percussion, giving an unearthly magical feel to the simple scenes that Goaziou sings of.

Tammy Rogers and Thomm Jutz bring us a Bluegrassed Christmas with their new recording ‘Welcome the Babe’ which focuses right back in on a manger and a stable.  And presents.  Tammy Rogers is a co-founder and fiddler with the Grammy-Award-winning bluegrass band, The Steeldrivers and Thomm Jutz is known as one of bluegrass music’s most prolific songwriters after years of touring as a guitarist for Mary Gauthier, Nanci Griffith, and David Olney.

And if all this has been getting just a bit too jolly again then let’s end with a slow one from Bjoern Nilsen who hits all the depressing points of the deep and dark December under his guise as Nilsen’s Southern Harmony. It is, he informs us, the first ever seasonal release for Nilsen’s Southern Harmony. Get ready to have your mood rearranged.

And now we feel bad about sending you off into the last weekend before Christmas in anything less than a joyful mood – goodness knows we all deserve to have a bit of joy floating around after the last…years.  So, here’s a bonus in the shape of Emily Irene Glazener‘s ‘Merry Christmas, a happy one too‘ which lives up to its title.  Emily is from Houston and tells us that her philosophy is “ … I believe if you share a smile most people will smile back …” .  Hmm….well, it’s worth a try maybe.


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About Jonathan Aird 2185 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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