12/31/20 I Don’t Condone The Use of Combining Gasoline and a Lighter (Four Songs Tonight)

December 31, 2020

I try to include a version of Auld Lang Syne each December 31st and I do this year but it’s buried within The Minus 5’s outstanding rocker, I Still Believe in New Year’s Eve.

here’s to all our friends and enemies
let’s file away our animosities
but against the war of fear
here’s good riddance to a real bad year
should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never blow my mind

I featured The Minus 5 on November 30th with See You In December and back on December 3rd last year with Christmas in Antarctica (a song Scott McCaughey, the founder of The Minus 5 wrote for The Monkees’ Christmas album). The Monkees passed on it btw but still snagged a few other McCaughey tunes. This cut comes from The Minus 5’s excellent album of very original mostly Christmas music, Dear December. (I say mostly because there’s a Hanukkah song on it too.)

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Also tonight Hell of a Year from country star, Parker McCollum. Hell of a Year is more of a breakup song but the sentiment seems to fit 2020,

Its been a hell of a year
How did you see
Who i was and who i was gonna be
I could’ve been right was probably wrong
So many nights wishing I could go home
Its been a hell of a year

In the video, McCollum douses his home with gasoline and starts it on fire. I do not condone the use of gas and lighters to burn down anything. It is however a pretty good metaphor for 2020.

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Song #3 tonight comes from the Grammy award wining songwriter, Dan Wilson. Wilson has written hits for Adelle and The Dixie Chicks and for a couple dozen movies and TV shows. I’ll feature Wilson’s What a Year for a New Year tonight (Wilson is already scheduled to show up in 2021).

What a year for a new year
We need it like we needed life I guess
Last one left us lying in a mess
What a year for a new year

Soon we’ll be lying in our beds
And new dreams will fill our heads
And the old ones will be ended
Hope we’ll forget about this place
Let it go without a trace
Wipe the teardrops from our faces
Oh! What a year for a new year!

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Lastly… Seasons, a song of hope from Hillsong.

I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting

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As always, a heartfelt thanks to everyone who is following this blog. And to all those who submitted songs, please keep it up and get them in early (like October). I truly hope we get out of this mess in 2021 and I hope to see all of you back on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 25, 2021.

Remember, my Spotify Playlist is over 26 hours long – it’s a very eclectic list. You can snag it here.

See you next year.
Tom

Hillsong – Seasons

Dan Wilson – What a Year for a New Year

Parker McCollum – Hell of a Year

The Minus 5 – I Still Believe in New Year’s Eve

12/30/20 “This Year Was A Bastard What Else Can You Say”

December 30, 2020

I fully expect a Captain Obvious commercial telling us it’s been a rough year.

Yet, here we are on the penultimate day of 2020.

Tonight I’ll feature a moody yet lovely song about New Year’s Day from singer/songwriter Kate Jacobs, Birds at the Feeder. Jacobs released Birds at the Feeder on January 3rd this year. I’d link to her music below but Birds at the Feeder is only available via her bandcamp page.

And then a brand new song from the Canadian band, Fortunate Ones, Hold On To Christmas Day (I featured Fortunate Ones back on December 6, 2016).

Hold On To Christmas Day is a perfect song for this year

This year was a bastard
What else can you say?
It feels like these 12 months just got in the way
But I gotta believe that we’ll all be okay
If we hold on to Christmas Day

Some days felt like lifetimes without a reprieve
But they’ll read like old news when the trees lose their leaves
And you’ll wake on the far side of all your bad dreams
If we hold on to Christmas Day

What lies up ahead of us nobody knows
And the past is a tale that we’ve already told
We’re all looking for someone or something to hold
So let’s hold on to Christmas Day

There’ll be time to be thankful for what we have got
And to let go of things that we know we need not
Like the dew in December, or a blizzard in May
If we hold on to Christmas Day

What lies up ahead of us nobody knows
And the past is a tale that we’ve already told
We’re all looking for someone or something to hold
So let’s hold on to Christmas Day

And we’ll hold on

KateJacobsMusic.com
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Bandcamp (this is the only place I could locate Birds at the Feeder)

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Kate Jacobs – Birds at the Feeder

Fortunate Ones – Hold On To Christmas Day

Fortunate Ones – Hold On To Christmas Day Recorded Live Dec 20 2020 St. John’s, Newfoundland

12/29/20 Remembering Those Who Passed Part Two

December 29, 2020

Kenny Rogers passed on March 20th. He had an amazing career as a folk music star, a rock star, TV and film star and a country music legend (and don’t forget the chicken franchise).

Over his career, Rogers released six solo Christmas albums and a duet record with Dolly Parton. There’s a lot from which to choose, but I’m featuring Christmas Without You from Once Upon a Christmas from the record with Dolly.

Once Upon a Christmas is a really good album. Released in November of 1984, it was Rogers’ second Christmas album – Dolly’s first. Other than the covers of standards, Parton wrote the majority of the songs on Once Upon a Christmas, including Hard Candy Christmas and Christmas Without You. It’s an excellent record.

Kenny and Dolly – Christmas Without You

Kenny & Dolly – Christmas Without You (from the 1984 TV special, A Christmas to Remember

Charlie Daniels career got rolling in 1973 with the hit Uneasy Rider, a song about a hippie traveling through the south. He also played fiddle on several of the early Marshall Tucker Band albums before hitting the big time with The Devil Went Down To Georgia. Charlie Daniels died on July 6th. He was 83.

Daniels released four Christmas records – I’ll feature Christmas Time Down South the title track from his first Christmas album.

Charlie Daniels – Christmas Time Down South

Jerry Jeff Walker wrote the song Mr. Bojangles, a major hit for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band but a tune that was also recorded by the likes of Chet Atkins, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Dylan and a long list of others.

Along with Gary P. Nunn, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Doug Sahm, Walker was a key part of the formation of what became “Outlaw Country.”

Jerry Jeff Walker died October 23rd – he was 78.

In 1993, Walker recorded and released one Christmas album, Christmas Gonzo Style. I’ll feature a medley from that record, Here Comes Santa Claus/Up On The Housetop.

Jerry Jeff Walker – Here Comes Santa Claus/Up On The Housetop

I remember catching a young John Prine on TV somewhere in the early 70′. I could’ve sworn it was WTTW’s Soundstage – but their wiki states differently.

Nonetheless, I love Prine’s music – and through the years I purchased just about everything he released. Rolling Stone Magazine called him “one of America’s greatest songwriters.” I agree.

John Prine died on April 7th due to complications from COVID-19. He was 73.

Christmas in Prison was included on Prine’s 1972 album Sweet Revenge. It was later released on A John Prine Christmas on his own label, Oh Boy Records. I’ll also feature Silent Night All Day Long from that record.

John Prine – Christmas in Prison

John Prine – Silent Night All Day Long

I’ve left off so many. My apologies.

12/28/20 Remembering those who passed in 2020 – Part one

December 28, 2020

As it seems to be every year, the list of artists and musicians who passed in the current year is long and sad.

This will be a two-part post, today and tomorrow and in no particular order.

Adam Schlesinger – Schlesinger is the founding member of the band Fountains of Wayne, best known for their 2003 hit Stacy’s Mom. Schlesinger also wrote two Christmas songs (featured here on December 4, 2015) I Want an Alien For Christmas and The Man in the Santa Suit. The songs were included on the band’s Out-of-State Plates (2005). Schlesinger died on April 1. He was 52.

Fountains of Wayne – I Want an Alien for Christmas

Ronald Bell was the co-founder of Kool & the Gang a band with a string of huge hits that still get played today (especially at parties and weddings, including Celebration, Ladies Night and Jungle Boogie. Ronald Bell died September 9. He was 68.

Kool and the Gang had one Christmas album, Kool for the Holidays, released in 2013.

Kool and the Gang – Christmas Always

Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex founded the band Van Halen – and pretty much the rest is history. His “complex harmonics, innovative fingerings and ingenious devices he patented for his instrument — made him the most influential guitarist of his generation and his band, Van Halen, one of the most popular rock acts of all time.” New York Times Eddie Van Halen died on October 20. He was 65.

Steve Lukather (guitarist from the band Toto) released a Christmas record in 2003 titled Santamental. The opening cut on the record features Lukather and Eddie Van Halen playing Joy to the World. As they say in the guitar vernacular, they shred.

Steve Lukather and Eddie Van Halen – Joy to the World

Rolling Stone Magazine said Richard Wayne Penniman, aka Little Richard was a “founding father of rock-and-roll. His “fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form.” The magazine listed Little as the 8th greatest Music Artist of All time.

Little Richard’s discography is vast and I’m unable to tell for certain if he released an actual album of Christmas music. However, he played a lot and with a lot of people on a lot of shows. The clip below is from a 1988 TV special titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas, hosted by Dennis Miller.

Little Richard died May 9th. He was 87.

Little Richard – Santa Claus is Coming’ to Town

12/27/20 The B-side of Bizarre Christmas Incident is Really Good (The A-side is a bit dicey).

December 27, 2020

Bizarre Christmas Incident is a profanity laced, funny tale of Santa getting stuck, nude in a chimney and dying (no mention of a Santa Clause in this song). Ben Folds released it as s single in 2002.

I’ll post it below. If you offend easily, you might want to pass on this one.

The B-side of the 2002 single is Lonely Christmas Eve, a song that was featured in the 2000 Grinch movie starring Jim Carrey. Lonely Christmas Eve comes from the point of view of the Grinch and is a great tune (probably the best thing about the movie).

Ben Folds is a talented pianist who is probably best known for the song, Brick. He’s also an author and a professional photographer.

In addition to the Christmas songs, ‘ll also post an amazing video of Folds writing a hit song in ten minutes, “live.” It’s a fun video and pretty amazing what Folds comes up with.

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Ben Folds – A Lonely Christmas Eve

Ben Folds – Bizarre Christmas Incident

Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes

12/26/20 Pour Me Another Double Jack and Coke – It’s The Post-Christmas Blues Post

December 26, 2020

The run up to Christmas is always fun and exciting. Then the day comes. Then it’s over. We know soon we’ll be back to the mundane. There is some finality when the clock strikes midnight on the 25th of December. We pack it up and move on pretty quickly these days.

In my early career in radio, we’d wind up to Christmas slowly adding a song or two to each hour every week before going full bore the week of Christmas.

We’d wind down too. It was nice to slowly pack everything away.

Not anymore.

The result for many is the post-Christmas blues. It’s a real thing — and many songs have been written about it.

Over the past several years I’ve featured songs that don’t want to let Christmas go,
Get Me Through December – Alison Kraus
Farewell Jingle Bells – Dave Brubeck
Don’t Wanna Let Christmas Go – Gabe Dixon
All I Get For Christmas is Blue – Over The Rhine
The Week Between – Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick
Christmas Auld Lang Syne – Bobby Darin

I’ll continue the tradition tonight with Jimmy Rankin’s Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye to Christmas Yet (I featured Rankin back on December 13th).

“Even though Santa’s come and left this town,
Don’t wanna take the decorations down,
I’m leaving up this Christmas tree,
The holidays ain’t seen the last of me,
I’m as sentimental as you can get,
Don’t wanna say goodbye to Christmas yet.

‘Cause I’m a sucker for some mistletoe,
Charlie Brown’s my favorite Christmas show,
I can watch it over and over, to me that’s as good as it gets,
Don’t wanna say goodbye to Christmas yet.

Pour me another double jack and coke,
Fix me some eggnog for the road,
Take a walk down Main Street one more time,
So I can keep this feeling in my mind,
I gotta do it so I don’t forget,
Don’t wanna say goodbye to Christmas yet.

‘Cause I’m a sucker for some mistletoe,
White Christmas is my favorite Christmas song,
I can sing it over and over you see, with no regrets,
Don’t wanna say goodbye to Christmas yet.

I’ll admit it, I guess I’m just a kid at heart,
Get so excited as soon as the season starts.

Go ahead ring in the brand new year,
Sing Auld Lang Syne, I’m staying here,
Drink champagne from your paper cups,
Tell yourselves things are looking up,
Still got December dancing in my head,
Don’t wanna say goodbye to Christmas yet.”

Jimmy Rankin – Dont Wanna Say Goodbye To Christmas Yet


12/25/20 Merry Christmas 2020

December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020 from Toms Christmas Music Blog.

I’ll feature new music from Vibraphonist, Warren Wolf tonight.

As always, I’ll be posting through the end of the year. The day following Christmas is always my Christmas Blues” day (meaning it’s music about having the post-Christmas blues — and not necessarily blues music). I’ll take two days to look back at artists who passed this year and a few other things.

My Spotify playlist includes most of the music I’ve featured over the past 14 years (i think it’s at 427 songs as of tonight). Check it out.

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Warren Wolf – Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Warren Wolf – Wake Up Kids It’s Christmas

12/24/20 “May the swords of hate fall from our hands, Our hearts from envy find release”

December 24, 2020

Josh Garrels was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana cutting his musical teeth playing in punk and rap bands. Somewhere along the way he realized his faith matters and began to write Christian music.

His style is clearly singer/songwriter and generally introspective.

In 2016, Garrels released his first Christmas record, The Light Came Down. I’ll feature O Day of Peace from The Light Came Down tonight – a perfect song for Christmas Eve.

“Oh day of peace that dearly shines
Through all our hopes and prayers
And dreams
Guide us to justice, truth and love
Delivered from our selfish schemes
May swords of hate fall from our hands
Our hearts from envy find release
Till by God’s grace our warring world
Shall see Christ’s promised reign of peace
Then shall the world dwell with the Lamb
Nor shall the fears devour the small
As beast and cattle calmly graze
A little Child shall lead them home
Then the meek shall learn to love
All creatures find their true accord
The hope of peace shall be fulfilled
For all the earth shall know the Lord”

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Josh Garrels – O Day of Peace


12/23/20 Not Being Able to Come Home Means Something Entirely Different in 2020

December 23, 2020

Conde Nast has stated December 23rd is generally the busiest travel day of the Christmas season. I reserve 12/23 every year for songs about coming home — or not being able to make it.

I’ll feature three songs with that theme tonight, Matt Maher’s When I Think of Christmas, Marie Hines’ Home and Barnaby Bright’s Star-Crossed Christmas.

Traveling and not being able to get to friends and family means something entirely different in the year of covid. I’ll leave it at that.

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Barnaby Bright – Star-Crossed Christmas

Matt Maher – When I Think of Christmas

Marie Hines – Home

12/22/20 Two Good Songs Yet Not Much is Known About the Artists

December 22, 2020

I’ll feature songs tonight from a band named Civil Parish and a vocalist named Catherine Hessler.

Not much to write about. Civil Parish was Christian based in Orlando from 2011 through around 2014. They released one record and a single. Their website no longer exists nor does their Facebook page. Luckily their bandcamp page is still alive. And you can download the song I’m featuring tonight, There’s A Song in the Air for free. It’s an excellent song.

Catherine Hessler is a classically trained vocalist who was also a Presbyterian minister in Seattle. And that’s about all there is to know. Her website exists but has not been updated since 2013. Hessler’s Facebook page has not been updated since 2015. I’ll feature her song How Many Angels tonight.

Civil Parish – There’s a Song in the Air

Catherine Hessler – How Many Angels

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