Starting to get a little bored with canned Christmas music? I know I can barely walk through a mall or a store this time of year without wishing for noise-cancelling headphones. There are some alternatives out there that are worth looking for (clicking for?).
A favorite in our house is “Keepin’ the Baby Awake” by Deborah Griffin Bly and Ann Hernandez, who chose perform as “The Miserable Offenders.” (1928 Prayerbook fans will appreciate the reference.) Their unusual arrangements and unexpected selections will help you get to the spirit of Advent and Christmas without immediately tuning out.
Another family favorite is from John McCutcheon and the Hammered Dulcimer group Trapezoid, “Winter Solstice.” It includes “Christmas in the Trenches,” a song he wrote commemorating a wonderful Christmas Eve during World War 1, when the rifles were put down and music, treats and soccer balls were raised up instead.
And if you are looking for something new and different, check out the new offering from Nick Lowe, “Quality Street.” Setting out to create “a sleigh-bell free zone,” this English singer and song writer has put together an album of new compositions and new arrangements of carols. He has been making the rounds of talk shows (at least on National Public Radio) featuring his song, “Christmas at the Airport” — which probably describes the contemporary experience of the holiday better than most carols, new or old.
Poke around a little bit and you can find music that will lift your hearts toward Christmas without giving you “earworms” or headaches.
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Mark Gatza