FIFTY DAYS OF ‘MERICA-MAS
The big one you’ve probably heard in this department is “Colorado Christmas” popularized by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. This is the classic homesick hallelujah that puts L.A. in its place (damn you to hell, comfortable climates!) and elevates the Rockies to Heaven (‘cuz the air’s so thin, i guess). I honestly prefer many of the female versions (like Meredith Grenfell-Bird‘s vocals for The Clear Creek No Name Band’s cover) of this tune to these gritsters. Been there, don we now our cliched ugly sweaters.
Now i am not going to count most of John Denver’s ouevre, including “Aspenglow,” as it doesn’t really yell The Nativity in The Centennial State. I need the words said (preferably in the title). But please listen with half an ear to these lesser known songs i found and see’n iffen you can’t detect a trace of that spherical-headed troubadour’s influence.
More homegrown (if awfully familiar in that way) is Melinda Trondson’s “Colorado Christmas,” a young, happy strummer of a song with old country harmony and comfortably worn (out) literary devices.
Steve Martin has observed that nothing played on the banjo can be sad–it’s so chipper! Working hard against this hypotheis is Ashleigh Caudill’s “Colorado Christmas Eve” about new love snuggled indoors during the holidays. This mournful maundering muzzles Joyeux Noelle in all its glee.
“Christmas Colorado Cowboy” by Jill and Allen Kirkham also measures the season in its severity by the hard labor of the keeper of the herd. But the guitar/fiddle gravitas here seems earned and reverential. Like one of those prayers where you keep your head down just an extra minute
Contrarily, Mark Putt Explosion plays with the whole legalized pot whoop-de-doo for Colorado with “Mile High Santa,” Ha ha, Santa’s in trouble with the police. Ho ho… hum.
Naw naw naw, I’m going to stay sticky-sweet sincere here. “Colorado Christmas Cowboy,” by Dan Schafer, plays that 1970s country styling… you know, the kind that had a story unfold so that the refrain changed its meaning a little bit after each verse, but the melody was a bit more pop than it shoulda been… you know? Remember when ‘loving country before country was cool’ was actually a pop song that was hardly country at all? Good times. Oh yeah, and near death experiences are pretty relatable this time of year.