State Twenty: Tennessee

The Mecca of Music, Nashville, brings a lotta attention. Everybody wantsa sing ’bout the holiest of holy times in TN. We’ve already referenced Alabama‘s “Tennessee Christmas,” which was cowritten by Amy Grant (sometimes referred to as “Tender Tennessee Christmas”) and, in the spirit of giving, is covered by Steve Wariner, Point of Grace, Lee Greenwood, Danny Gokey, Krista Branch, Zorema, Isabeau, Otilia, and bunches of others i don’t even wanna know. All right already.
Chet Atkins has composed a gorgeous pickin’ piece entitled “East Tennessee Christmas,” which has no lyrics (whose game to write some?).
And of course Dolly’s got “Smoky Mountain Christmas.”
And do not bother with Lallie Bridges’s ridiculous “Tennessee at Christmas” which is nearly word for word the same as her “Nashville at Christmas.” X-Mass production w/o musical gifts!
To take a break, I looked at Nashville Christmas songs. Nativity gold! Bob Walkenhorst’s “Christmas in Nashville” is that age old homesick-stuck-in-my-career ballad. I like the twist wherein he’s singing about the place he’s trapped (Nashville) and not the place he yearns for. Aww, he had me at “Three Wise Men in a bar…”.
Dan Schafer’s “Christmas Time in Nashville” lays down a honky tonk track for that late-in-the-drunk wistfulness fulla Christianity and regret.
One charity org. has a medley online that includes some homeless holiday conscience prodders: “East Nashville Christmas.” The 75 artists played wherever you might’ve donated a few years back. But their site is still allowing you to give for the Christ of it.
Still my playlist has gotta include “If Jesus Were Born in Tennessee” by Jason Cox & Bryan McKaig from their album Hark! A Providence Christmas. No lie, these Christian boys play this in church. It’s proper country, the funny kind (think Homer&Jethro, not Rick Dees): sly without irony. Now, these boys finally have a youtube channel and their traditional stuff rocks too, so give a listen, y’hear?

State Eighteen: Alabama

Now the standard here should be “Christmas in Dixie” by the band Alabama (also covered by Kenny Chesney and others). But that does not play by my rules. It does not celebrate the High Mass via a particular locale, whether state or famous city within (state of mind doesn’t count). And my selection needs to be off the beaten path a bit. And not blow that hard.
So, consider Christmas Across America‘s “An Alabama Moon for Christmas” by Scat Sprigs. It’s all jazz band high life which reminds me more of some late night talk show in-house group, rather than Montgomery Blues. Finger snapping more than hallelujahing.
I love the internet. For it was here I found another song by that group Alabama about Christmas in the state of Tennessee sung by a teen blondie who changed the lyrics to fit her state of Alabama. She’s a Nashville Rising Star, though she’s since taken down this homemade recording. What this lacks in quality it makes up for in volume. Look for Lillian Glanton around Joe’s Crab Shack in Nashville, or the Athens Saturday Market in Athens, GA. She’s a serious, perky, spunky Southern Belle.