Post 1: Holiday Music

Wow. It's Christmas time again. As a Letter Carrier for the USPS, this time of year definitely has it's ups and downs. With that increasingly heavy mail volume comes an increasingly festive holiday spirit. One of my favorite ways to feel that holiday cheer comes through the great music made for the season. HOWEVER, it has become increasingly difficult to find good holiday music. I know, I know... "good" is a relative term when it comes to music. I will never forget a comment that was made to me by Ms. Sarah Mclachlan, when I met her after a concert in 1994. Her "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" album had been one that had dramatically changed my life, and part of that was brought on by the similar feeling to the music of Talk Talk, a band that I considered my favorite for many years. After asking Sarah if she was influenced by Talk Talk (her response was, 'Is it that noticeable?'), I proceeded to tell her how my younger brother Rich didn't like "Spirit of Eden", a rather ethereal Talk Talk release. She (in a nice way) chastised me, telling me that music is a very "personal" thing. Ever since, I have tried to respect one's opinion of music. Except for those of you who listen to mainstream Country music. You people need to get some REAL taste!! Hey, where are the emoticons?!? No smiley faces? No winking? Anyhow, I have TRIED to respect people's opinions. Sometimes it's hard. Garth Brooks fans, you know who you are...

Anyhow, consider most of that previous paragraph a disclaimer. First, know that what is written here is MY opinion. I don't expect you to agree with me. Let's see, I need to get back to the holiday music conundrum that I experience each and every year. I usually try and get 2-3 new Christmas releases each year. This may seem like an easy task, but it's harder than you think. It's not just a matter of walking down to Wal-Mart and grabbing the first two Christmas discs I see. Do I need another collection featuring Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Mathis (Johnny, NOT Samantha), and the endless variety of "traditional" Christmas music. My Christmas CD collection is now around 70 discs. Included are some great Pop artists, Jazz artists, Bluegrass artists, Americana artists, New Age artists, and even MR. BLOBBY. Okay, unless you are from the UK, you probably don't know who Mr. Blobby is. Think Barney the purple dinosaur from a parallel universe. Mondo Barney. Yeah. The dinosaur that teaches kids how to release gaseous emissions from the intestines instead of getting along with your friends. Wait. Mr. Blobby isn't even a dinosaur. He's a pear shaped, polka dotted creature. NOT THE POINT! My point is that I have a wide variety. The last few years have been dry, but this year I have found a couple of fresh purchases. Firstly, I just got a triple whammy in the mail. All three WIND MACHINE Christmas releases. Purchased seperately on, they all decided to arrive at once. Man, oh man, am I pleased. This is some nice acoustic, instrumental New Age Christmas music. If you like this kind of music, do a google search for the band. Good stuff. Anyhow, on top of that, I have just acquired the Sufjan Stevens Christmas e.p. box set. This is stellar. Complete with 42(?) tracks, you have loads of songs to choose from. PLUS, you get a sheet of stickers, AND a booklet complete with guitar chords. Fun indeed! And to top off my new holiday purchases, the new MINDY SMITH "My Holiday" collection. This one is beautiful. It includes a duet with Alison Krauss that would make a grown man cry. Except I don't cry. Just ask my wife. She gives me crap about that ALL the time. Don't get me wrong. I feel emotion. I get goose bumps. My eyes even water, but the tears don't run. Call me insensitive, if you want. Me? I will just consider it a mutant super power.

I have rambled long enough, people. If you have not gotten anything out of these ramblings, get this: there is PLENTY of good, creative, original holiday music out there. Find it. Buy it. Enjoy it. There is plenty of cheer for ALL OF US!