As 2022 draws to a close and we get ready to celebrate the festive season in our different ways, we bring you our final video post of the year. ‘Christmas in Prison’ is one of the finest songs John Prine ever wrote. And that’s up against some pretty stiff competition. Taken from Prine’s 1973 album ‘Sweet Revenge’, it’s a song that is lyrically perfect; Christmas is simply part of the background to the heartache and heartbreak in the direct lines, like: “I’ll probably get homesick.” It feels like there’s a weary sense of resignation and acceptance in this story but, mostly, it’s just about love.
Love is the message this Christmas, folks, and it’s delivered by Nashville-based, LA-born singer songwriter Chris Canterbury. With his acoustic guitar and characterful voice, he brings a warmth and richness to the song, more than doing it justice. It’s a great performance that is really enhanced by the delightful-sounding mandolin contributed by Scott Simontacchi. Canterbury says of the song: “It’s a love song, it’s a prison song, and it’s kind of a Christmas song. As much as Die Hard is a Christmas movie. The beauty of this John Prine elegy lies in the almost perfect descriptive prose set against the depressing scenery of a man in prison. ‘Wait a while eternity, ol’ Mother Nature’s got nothing on me.’ Show me a person that doesn’t like a prison song, and I’ll show you a person that hates Santa Claus.”
Canterbury delivered one of the best country albums of the year in ‘Quaalude Lullabies’. We gave this soulful country record a whopping 9/10 in our review back in August – read about it here. If you enjoy a little gravelly-whisky-voiced country from a ‘Kitchen Table Poet’, then do yourself a favour this Christmas and check it out.
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