November 16, 2007

Not Even Santa Wears Short Sleeves

Tomorrow is an exciting and sad day for Big Ten football fans—a day of rivalries that also closes out our regular season of play. My Nittany Lions are going to face a tough battle at Michigan State—they always play us hard. And PC is bravely going into a state that, as one fan on a recent HBO documentary said, “smells like hot dog water.” So, here’s hoping for a strong end from both our teams. Go Lions. Go Buckeyes.

But before we can get to that, we’ve got some great songs up for today. I love the little map feature on our blog—we didn’t have this before the redesign. Over the past few weeks, the map has had an outbreak of red dots. In high school, my face always did the same thing right before we had to get our yearbook photos taken. But it’s great to see where everyone’s from. And, really, we’re just getting started on the holiday season.

Sleigh Ride – The Ventures
I love the fake-out start to this—for a few seconds, it’s “Walk, Don’t Run.” But then we’re whisked off in that sleigh.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Aimee Mann
This one is off One More Drifter In the Snow, one of the best holiday albums released last year, even though NPR said that it was too depressing. It’s Aimee Mann—what did you expect? This is the fourth version of this song we’ve posted—and the second one that flat-out rocks. Mann adds some chugging tubas and at about the one-minute mark, everything comes together.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sarah McLachlan
I’m proud that I somehow withheld posting this song for a while—it’s one of my very favorites, though out of the dozen or so versions I have, Judy Garland remains my favorite. We’ll have a much longer post about the story behind this song in December. It remains one of the bleakest holiday songs ever recorded, yet also one of the most beautiful. This version’s off McLachlan’s Wintersong, also one of the best holiday albums released last year.

My Christmas – Mindy Smith
Perhaps it’s no surprise that a woman raised by a pastor would record a Christmas album. I didn’t know much about Smith until this year—she’s perhaps best comparable to Alison Krauss and Patty Griffin. However, she did do a pretty faithful cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” back in 2003 that scored some airplay on radio. Folk, bluegrass, Americana—I don’t know what you call it, but it sounds very sweet.

White Christmas – The Tractors
A relaxed and instrumental version of the old classic. Love that bluesy ending.

Be back on Sunday with some more—taking Saturday off.

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