Died. Your Welcome: deer (2)

Not every traffic mishap has an unhappy ending.

The Road Kill Band are sad dads (still with the dream of a band) (playing for ungrateful drunks at the American Legion Hall). They don’t actually kill the deer they run over (in song) but wish they had in “Road Kill Christmas.”
Good listen.

Died. You’re Welcome: the stress (2)

Now there was a cool novelty ’60s downer by the Everly Brothers that i noted last Christmas Eve. Hate to repeat myself…

Technically i don’t if i mention the same song by Dawn McCarthy and Bonny “Prince” Billy; except they basically mimic it.

American Mars get damn folked with this tune as well, channeling Dylan. Still too close.

But Trucker Christmas featuring Dominik Plangger & Claudia Fenzl countrify this maudlin melody putting it to work for the lonely sixteen-wheelers everywhere on that special night. Ladies and generic men, “Christmas Eve Can Kill You.” Damn, boy.

BLUE ALERT: the s word (10)

Saved the best shit for last. Red Peters is often as funny as an Asperger’s ridden 1960s burlesque emcee. But his psychological passive-aggressive pastiche of Walter Brennan (you don’t have to suffer through the original tear-jerking tune) dealing with ungrateful grown kids at Christmas is a hoot and a holler and a half.

Please enjoy “You Ain’t Gettin’ Shit for Christmas.” It’s funny. I shit you not.

BLUE ALERT: the s word (8)

Don’t forget now, we’re locking elbows with the lowest common denominators of society: the profane. Life is terrible. What’re ya gonna do? Curse!

So watch down your nose Wish Crosby and Flo Murphy getting their Christmas from the Family on with “Shitty Shaggin’ Christmas.” They’re a regular Archie and Edith bunker three rungs down the trailer park.


The Future: Robots (2)

The big star in Santa Robots is from the Matt Groening cartoon Futurama. Despite the show’s musicality, however, there’s no good santa-is-a-robot song from the series.

So here’s Bear Ron’s tribute to the show’s murderous Kringle: “Sci Fi Santa.” It’s got that unplugged end-of-the-world country music feel to it. (Not sure why robo-claus needs a robo-pup, though.)

State Forty-Four: Arizona

Well, i can’t find any Grand Canyon sized Nativity scenes sung about for the AZ, so let’s settle for hokey-folk.
The White Family (Mr. and Mrs. White, and White Jr.) melodize all your favorites for “2010’s Another White Christmas (In Arizona).” It’s a break from all the oddities i’ve collected to watch a home movie of Arizonians play-acting for all their friends. Okay, that’s pretty odd, too. Maybe not.
Vic Sorrell is included in Christmas Across America with “The Gift of Arizona.” This is corrido-style, all spiritually sad and didn’t-get-what-he-wanted-for-Xmas-Eve-from-Mexico (it was love).
While we’re on the subject of the neighbor to the south, let’s give a careful listen to “Christmas Time in Arizona” by Aaron Parr & the Hereford Boys. Hey look, the border patrol checks out Santa! I guess AZ identifies with illegales so much that the whole state celebrates the holidays with official papers, not xmas cards. With such an insistent guitar beat and campfire hoarse harmony, it’s hard to judge how humorous this is supposed to be. Are hot dogs and pie traditional yule fare down there?

State Thirty-Nine: Wyoming

The Equality State says nothing more to me than solid rock at mountainous altitudes where no one should be expected to survive. Like Santa.
But if you wanna get all hand-holdy and Kumbaya i suggest you listen to “Wyoming Winter Wonderland” by Dan Schafer (from his wonderful Christmas Across America collection). The unconcerned banjo plinkling in the background, the group harmony like it’s an Old Navy ad, the metaphorical weather observations… it’s that late in the party drowsy sensation. Netflix up the “Charlie Brown” somebody!
I’m confused by the inappropriately light-hearted “Free Frosty (From Wyoming)” by Amie Vandevrie. It posits that unless our famous mobile molded snowman leaves cowboy country, he’ll melt. You mean like it’s warmer in New England? And don’t get me started on the “dance version” embedded in this song. I’m not ready to rave over Frosty’s remains.
I’ll settle for a nice quiet fireside reflection on the season with “Wyoming Christmas” by John A McCallum. This Canadian cowboy complained he ran out of songs he liked to play, so he started writing. It was because of that love for music that he named his Youtube channel “Tune Smitten.” A homegrown British Colombian boy he credits the sound of ‘Cheyenne, Wyoming’ as the inspiration for this pretty winter romance: “no time to be alone.” Bonus for lyrics included in the video. It’s like a little gift for me.

State Thirty-Eight: Montana


Big Skies, fly fishing… okay, ever since Jared Diamond’s Collapse all I can see for Montana is poisonous, poorly planned pollution and poverty. Hey it IS kinda like the American Christmas!

John Denver had a 1991 Christmas TV special entitled ‘Montana Christmas Skies‘ but i can find no Xmas songs about MT. Can you? (Just ‘Wild Montana Skies’ about the pushpull of countrycity on a poor boy’s soul. No redemptive births here, son.)

Have you met my favorite musical activist, Krista Detor? Detor is a song writer that has charted around the world and also stirred up humanist thoughts with her raucous poetry. From her album Silver Wood: Winter Songs she gives us “Sheriff Santa From Montana.” This ‘humor’ is a bit of cartoon fun with 21st C darkness. I suggest someone post-haste make a Plympton-style animation to go with this epic tale of kiddie moralism.

State Thirty-Three: Oklahoma

Blake Shelton owns this category with “Oklahoma Christmas.” His duet with Reba McIntire serves up canned corn homesickness about that special Sooner State of mind while being stuck in yucky Tennessee. It’s measured and moderate and has some fine guitar riffs. But it’s overplayed (and too Trail of Tears) and i can’t do that to you, i can’t i can’t i can’t.
Now Dana Spencer belts out “Oklahoma Christmas Spirit” “…straight from the heart of the heartland!!” and, while the fiddle helps, i begin to suffer from pudding filling. By the by, her pretty warbling and bountiful belting can be found on my fave Songs Across America–good stuff.
On to the wonderful and weird… Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis have been happily married with kids for years. And singing on the road (Texas mostly) with the Bruce and Kelly Show. They come off as homegrown, straight-shooting, the real deal. “Oklahoma Christmas” seems to document him at the in-laws’ holiday gettogether outtastate and the problems with translation Texans have with Oklahomans. At the end of the live track Kelly admits, “‘Sfunny ’cause it’s true.” And totally appropriate for the holidays.