Rodney Crowell - Christmas Everywhere [CD]
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- Jewel Case
My childhood memories of Christmas aren’t warm and fuzzy. The holidays were more of a nuisance for my parents than cause for celebration. This is not to say that on behalf of their only child they didn’t give the season a halfhearted try. There were Christmases when I found under the tree an electric football set, a Daisy pump air-rifle and a basketball goal that never got nailed up. But, there were also mornings when apples, oranges, hickory nuts and a hammer signified that year’s bounty. Which is to say that Christmas in our household was mostly a wait-and-see proposition.
A few years back, it became evident to my family, and indeed myself, that I’d gone sour on all things related to Christmas. Sometime around Christmas 2016 I came home to find my granddaughters, sitting side by side and playing on the our old upright piano a melody that to my ear sounded like something from the early nineteenth century. I asked them what song they were playing and in unison they replied, “something we just made up.” I hit record on my iPhone and asked them to play it again. Using their melody almost entirely, I spent a couple of months composing the words to “Come Christmas.” A generation had passed since I first made up a Christmas song with their mother.
Sometime later, in rapid succession, I came up with “Christmas in New York,” “When the Fat Guy Tries the Chimney On For Size,” “Christmas For the Blues” and, again with Mary Karr, “Let’s Skip Christmas This Year.” With those tunes in the bag, I began entertaining the rather vague idea of writing something that Spike Jones might have recorded in his heyday. The lyrical ideas for “Christmas Everywhere,” came fast, as did the realization that if I were ever going to realize the song’s compositional possibilities, I would need help from the premier Gypsy Jazz guitarist and composer, John Jorgenson.
I was finally ready to record an album of original Christmas songs. With Dan Knobler producing and some very gifted musicians and vocalists lending their talents, the making of the album Christmas Everywhere ranks as some of the most enjoyable recording sessions I’ve ever experienced. The record was close to being finished when it occurred to me that to set the tone for the albums mostly irreverent subtext, I needed to compose a lyrical prelude. In honor of Clement Moore, who wrote the poem we all know as, "The Night Before Christmas," I came up with a short piece called “Clement’s Lament (We’ll See You in The Mall)”. Tania Hancheroff and Kim Keyes stopped by the studio and performed the tune with Jordan Lehning’s orchestral backing and the album was pronounced complete.
- Clement’s Lament (We’ll See You In The Mall)
- Christmas Everywhere (feat. Lera Lynn)
- When The Fat Guy Tries The Chimney On For Size
- Christmas Makes Me Sad
- Merry Christmas From An Empty Bed (feat. Brennen Leigh)
- Very Merry Christmas
- Christmas in Vidor (feat. Mary Karr)
- Christmas for the Blues
- Come Christmas
- Let's Skip Christmas This Year
- Christmas In New York
- All For Little Girls & Boys (feat. Daddy Cool & The Yule)