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mailbagDespite the fact that I all but tell them not to (no, really), every year artists send me CD's, MP3's, and more, asking me to trumpet their music on my website. But, with thousands of Christmas singles, EP's, and albums flooding the market every season, I just can't keep up. Rather than have them completely waste their time and money, I decided to throw the more substantial submissions on this page and let fate take its course. At the very least, these well-meaning musicians will get a tiny bit of publicity out of the deal. Hey, it's better than a lump of coal!

Randy Anthony

Classical Blast From Bach to classic rock to metal to pop, Classical Blast is a unique band dedicated to transforming classical to mainstream. Their new Christmas album Dark Side of the Yule mashes famed classic rock songs with traditional holiday music - and it features celebrity vocalists from their hometown of Chicago. For instance, "Silent Night" is mashed up with Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence," and it's sung by Ministry's Chris Connelly. (2016)
Kristin Chambers Seattle singer/songwriter Kristin Chambers has released her Christmas album Snow Globe featuring five original songs and her uniquely distinctive take on five holiday classics. Snow Globe is a heart-warming collection of songs showcasing Kristin's talents as a vocalist and songwriter, including the sweet lullaby "Christmas Eve," a slow-burning blues number called "It's Not Christmas (Without You Here)," and a fun pop/country tune featuring Casey MacGill, "A Magical Guy." (2015)
A Colorful Christmas A Colorful Christmas is a collection of Christmas songs from Fetal Records, including original and covers ranging from the festive to the devotional, in multiple genres, by a diverse group of passionate and inspiring artists including Charlie Sayles, Tony Fazio, Law & Order, and Jane Kraemer. (2015)
Found Wandering Found Wandering is the husband and wife duo of Sarah and Colin Comstock accompanied by talented friends from all over the Northeast. Their new album, On A Christmas Night, ranges from folk to soul, alt-country to funk, and features original arrangements of classics such as "I Saw Three Ships," "Angels We Have Heard On High," and "Joy To The World," as well new takes on contemporary Christmas songs originally written by James Brown, Harry Connick Jr, and Jackson Browne. Download on Amazon or buy the CD at Bandcamp. (2015)
The Cains In spirit of the holiday, The Cains have released a new seasonal song, Merry Christmas To You about missing a loved one during the holiday season. Madison Cain said, "When you think of Christmas songs, you think of joy, family and everything merry and bright. But for so many people, Christmas isn't perfect. Relationships have been severed and the most wonderful time of the year often brings its own sting. We hope this song encourages people to reach out, make the call they've been putting off, or write a letter - it's never too late to say 'I love you.'" (2015)
Astrocolor Lit Up is the debut album from Astrocolor, a new project from the western edge of Canada. Conceived as an experimental Christmas album for a new generation of holiday listeners, it features 10 seasonal classics that have been artfully deconstructed and reinvented. Ambient, dubby, and jazzy, the album takes cues from influences including Massive Attack, Air, Stan Getz, and St. Germain. Perfect as background music for any seasonal soiree, Lit Up may also be the first Christmas album you'll consider playing year-round. (2015)
Johnny Pierre Johnny Pierre's Holiday Jamboree is a conceptual Christmas album featuring all original music. This festive collection takes the listener on a rock 'n' roll journey through the travails and joys of the holiday season - often from the perspective of Santa Claus himself. Johnny Pierre is a 30-year veteran of the Long Island music scene, both fronting the Biscuit Kings and as a solo act. He creates modern music that captures the immediacy of classic jazz, blues, and rock. (2015)
Russ Lorenson In The Holiday Spirit is an intoxicating Yuletide cocktail from Russ Lorenson, also known as "San Francisco's Favorite Crooner" includes one healthy pour of brand-new holiday tunes and a jigger of lesser-known gems from the "Golden Age of Christmas Music" - all shaken together with the 16-piece Kelly Park Big Band - and garnished with a candy-cane crooner! This album follows Lorenson's 2006 holiday effort, What I Want For Christmas. (2015)
Rough Shop A couple of years back, St. Louis' Rough Shop documented the magic of their annual "Holiday Extravaganza" shows with its first holiday CD called Just Because It Was Christmas. Now comes a second release, Lit Up Like a Christmas Tree, with 13 more songs exploring the magic, the love, the joy, and yes, the heartbreak of the Yuletide season. With neither a trace of ironic distance nor a hint of cash-counting cynicism, Rough Shop and friends embrace the concept of Christmas music as something every bit as complex and emotionally rich as any other kind of song. (2014)
Hipwaders The Hipwaders are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band for kids and families. With Year-Round Sounds, they travel a year in song with a variety of covers and originals celebrating seasons and holidays along with the trials and tribulations of kids and their parents. Previously, the Hipwaders released an entire album of original Christmas songs, A Kindie Christmas (2009). Now, Year-Round Sounds presents their versions of classic Christmas songs by Gene Autry and Buck Owens. (2014)
Tribecastan New York City's TriBeCaStan returned to the studio this summer to record Coal, Again! - a six-track Christmas recording like no other ever heard. It is a follow-up to the band's first holiday effort, The Twisted Christmas, released two years ago. "Clever exotica, winking all the way," says the New York Times' music critic Jon Pareles. (2014)
Black Cherry A Tree for Christmas by Ottawa-based band Black Cherry is a 9-song CD of mostly new Christmas music. It has something for everyone - jazz, blues, country, children's music, instrumentals, and even a short song sung a capella! The band is donating two dollars of every sale of A Tree for Christmas to the Ottawa Humane Society. (2013)
Alex Tjoland Band

The Alex Tjoland Band is keeping the spirit of Christmas alive with their new holiday CD release Silent Revelry. Produced by Macon, Georgia music legend Joey Stuckey, Silent Revelry features guitarist Bo Sammons, vocalist Rachel Elkins, keyboardist Delisa Kyser, and the rhythm section of Alex and Erik Tjoland performing mostly original songs ranging from "This Picture of You," which tells the stories of young American soldiers killed in Iraq, to "Surf's Up, Santa Claus," a rip-roaring guitar instrumental. "We weren't going to re-write 'White Christmas' or 'Silver Bells'," says Sammons. (2013)

The Greatest iTs The Greatest iTs' debut holiday single "It's So Cold Out (Every Christmas)" is available both as a stand-alone single at Amazon and as part of A Raw Rock Christmas IV: Christmas Business via Bandcamp. Given the band's potentially suggestive name and the single's ooo-la-la cover art, Shawn and Sweet Al's alternative/acoustic Christmas song is suprisingly sentimental - and relatively sexless. (2013)
Brad McNett & Jake Reichbart Singer Brad McNett and guitarist Jake Reichbart have made their digital EP Please Come Home for Christmas available for free at Bandcamp. It's a sweet little holiday album - bare bones stuff, just the two of them, with Reichbart doubling as engineer. But, it's a pure, tasteful effort with just the right amount of feeling and sentiment. Brad's endearing vocals and Reichbart's chord voicings are particularly addictive. (2013)
Marcie and Anthony Webster Dance duo Marcie and Anthony Webster created their own happy holiday version of Lana Del Ray's mopey hit Summertime Sadness. It's called Holiday Time Gladness, and it's available for a limited time only as a free download through Sendspace. (2013)
Antigone Rising

Effective Immediately PR wrote to tell me about several of their acts with Christmas songs out. The one that really caught my ear was Antigone Rising, an all-female country rock force of nature (pictured) with a new Christmas single called Santa, You Owe Me - a witty, sassy tale of getting your just desserts for doing Santa's dirty work (and I'll leave that to your imagination). I also liked Christmas, Baby Please Come Home by The Voice finalist Charlotte Sometimes, a charming, understated take on the Darlene Love/Phil Spector classic. Charlotte's version originally came out on the 2010 album A Holiday Benefit, Vol. 4. (2013)

Aaron Childree Aaron Childree is a pop singer/ songwriter based in Atlanta, Georgia whose music combines a hopeful message, memorable melodies, and an infectious beat. Aaron's goal is to use music as a way to instill hope and inspire action within others. His music has the ability to take you to a place long abandoned by many of today's popular musicians - a place where poetic lyrics can be set to catchy melodies and pop music can be a meaningful way to unify and inspire. Combining his passion for positive change with his love for music, Aaron is able to create thought-provoking tracks that appeal to the masses. Reason To Give is his new holiday single - also available as a bonus track on his album Above The Norm. Be sure to keep up with Aaron Childree at www.aaronchildree.com and follow him on Facebook. (2013)
Daniela Kuri

Multi-cultural vocalist Daniela Kuri was born and raised in Mexico City, but she came from a Lebanese background. So, music and dance were a staple in her life and cultural heritage. At the age of 16, Daniela moved to Houston, Texas where she was introduced to a new culture and, ultimately, pursued her musical dreams with the support of her family. "I have an urge to create, share, and express my feelings about life, and I found singing and performing the best way to do so." The holiday single Santa Baby is her recording debut, and she is preparing her first full-length album for 2014. Be sure to follow Daniela on Facebook. (2013)

Ken Elkinson Ambient Holidays Volume 1: Christmas Ambient is the second Christmas CD from Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist Ken Elkinson following Generations Of Yuletide (2008). This time around, Ken puts his unique ambient spin on 16 well-known and obscure Christmas songs including "Deck The Halls," "Joy To The World," and the haunting "Truth Sent From Above." "I tried to give all the songs a new and different spin," says Ken. (2012)
Tribecastan When you hitch a ride with TriBeCaStan, you never know where you're going to land. Drawing liberally from jazz, world music, and Americana, their new holiday EP, The Twisted Christmas, is a collection of your favorite Christmas songs, merrily reinterpreted with exotic cheer, unexpected instrumentations, and mischievous smirks. With a tongue in cheek amalgam of yule tide spirit and holiday chutzpah, The Twisted Christmas is a change of pace from the standard seasonal-tunes of old. (2012)
Juliet Turner The House At The Top Of The Hill is the song behind the story of how the friends and family of singer-songwriter Juliet Turner decided to ring in the new millennium in comfort in an old cottage on the family farm. Food, music, booze, and a toast at midnight - and by twenty minutes past the hour, everyone had gone home to bed! The gathering was such a success that it's been repeated every new year's eve since. (2012)
Rich & Brook Pulin Rich Pulin is a career musician, starting with a gig in the the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1960, and has been composing and arranging since 1968. "It became apparent at some point along the way that no jazzy-classic-sounding Christmas songs were being written," writes Rich, "and that was my motivation to write Christmas Feeling." Rich enlisted his daughter Brooke (left) to sing the vocal, backed by the USC Jazz Honors Choir and a studio orchestra, and it does, indeed, sound jazzy and classic. Rich is trying to direct the song to the "right places and people," so if you like it, spread the word. (2012)
Hilary Grist "An early Christmas present for you!" announced Vancouver-based singer Hilary Grist. "A little something to enjoy with your hot cocoa over the holidays." It was not cookies - which are tough to send via email - but her 2011 album, It's Officially Winter Now. "We added a beautiful & atmospheric version of 'The First Noel' to the collection this year!" she pointed out, adding, "Come on over and say hi sometime!" I'm sure she's a lovely person, but I assume she meant visit her website. (2012)
Redtenbacher's Funkestra

Redtenbacher's Funkestra features Austrian bass player Stefan Redtenbacher, and their EP A Very Funky Christmas infuses funk, 60's boogaloo, jazz, and 70's disco into classic holiday songs - as well as the title track, an original composition. "Stefan knows what the funk is about," says Fred Wesley, trombonist for James Brown, Parliament, Funkadelic - and that's quite an endoresement. (2012)

Christmas Time Is Here Gabe Miller sents us a link to Christmas Time Is Here, a four-song acoustic/indie EP featuring tracks by Gabe, Dan Essien, Amy Silverman, and the group Incolor. The "name your price" download includes a digital booklet with additional album art, album credits, and the lyrics to all the songs. (2012)
Lois Mahalia Lois Mahalia has released a digital EP of holiday music called Feeling Like a Kid. "I know you're swamped," wrote Lois, "But hope youll give a listen." I did, and while it's not my style, it's quite nice - a sort of Hawaiian jazz underpinning Mahalia's gentle, soulful vocals. The title track is an original song, and the others are holiday classics. (2012)
Dead Gwynne

Dead Gwynne have been releasing an annual holiday song for many years. "Dear Holiday Rock and Roll enthusiast," they write, "below you will find our latest Christmas song as well as a trove of selections from Christmas past. Rock the Christmas season. Spread the news, the butter, the joy. Merry Christmas everyone!" (2012)

That Band from Holland By the time Eric-Jan Vriend of That Band From Holland wrote to tell me about the group's new Christmas album, they already had two under their belts. The Deadweight Loss Of Christmas follows Tree Party (2010) and Forget The Past With A Present (2009). Hailing from Rotterdam, the band is a Dutch indiepop tradition, but, in their own words, "It's also very cool to share the music with people all over the world!"
Shauna Burns Shauna Burns describes her latest musical venture, the Celtic-flavored A Winter Gathering, as a new journey - a collection of newfangled carols and original songs performed by her with her husband, drummer James Clark, and guest performers Caroline Kemper (Celtic harp), Rick Kemper (Uilleann pipes & pennywhistle), Lindsey Springer (cello), and Ryan Whyte Maloney (guitar). Bringing unique new elements and sounds to her trademark style, Burns offers new twists on classic songs like "Carol of the Bells," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," and "Silent Night." She also includes "White Christmas" as a tribute to her mother, Joyce - who always played it during holidays when Burns was growing up - and a compelling rendition of "What A Wonderful World." (2011)
Christopher Tozzi Christopher Tozzi writes saying, "I am a local performing and studio musician out of San Francisco. I write and record instrumental rock music that sounds like Joe Satriani meets Pink Floyd... or something like that! I also perform and compose with a popular local ballet company, have just finished scoring three documentaries for PBS, and will be staring in a featured documentary 'Musical Journey Through Xinjiang.' Really stoked on music and had to do a Christmas album because I love the spirit and energy of the holidays! For the last three months, I've been on lock down working on A Very Tozzi Christmas." That said, the album was never released through any commercial outlet, though he made some songs available on YouTube. (2011)
Hot Buttered Elves In many ways the Holidays are bleak in 2011 and the Hot Buttered Elves dig deeply into that vein with their new release Coal. Trudging as lightheartedly through sooty caverns of sound as dim lanterns will allow, their new release sheds a strange and wonderful light on some of the most perplexing traditions of our time. Coal is the Hot Buttered Elves' sixth full-length release. But, even after 18 years of making some of the funniest and darkest Christmas music you're ever likely to hear the Elves still bring fresh perspectives on old traditions. (2011)
Bubba Da Skitso Bubba Da Skitso sent us his Christmas song "No Cash for Xmas!" saying, "I wrote the song at the request of an associate who wanted to hear what I could come up with when combining the blues with the Christmas theme - but without making it depressing. Thought it's inspired by real life (with a title that gives you a good idea what it's about), don't worry - it's not a dreary tale of woe. It's a fun, bouncy, upbeat, jazzy, bluesy Christmas song that will have you singing along and whistling the tune all day. Plus, I think most people can identify with right now." (2011)
Moat Jumper Festive, acoustic, and enchanting - Moat Jumper is a musical group that blends Renaissance, Medieval, traditional Celtic, and Middle Eastern styles. Multi-instrumentalist Joe Matzzie created Moat Jumper by drawing on his experience playing music at Renaissance festivals. Their debut CD Christmas at the Renaissance Fair brings together all that's great about music at Renaissance festivals, played by a group of musicians with backgrounds in the festival circuit including Stefan Mark Dolak, Mindy O'Brien, Reid DeFever, and Paul Nowell. (2011)
Danny Newport "My name is Danny Newport and I am from Philadelphia. 'St. Nick' is my first holiday record, and I made it exactly how I wanted to hear one. This one shows a little sympathy to Santa because I think he needs it the most. Here's the link to the YouTube video to accompany the song. We captured the footage at the Running of the Santas, an annual event in Philadelphia. Happy holidays, my friends." (2011)
Sojourn Music Christmas at Sojourn has always been a unique thing. From the first year in the life of the church, Sojourn have been fascinated by the more gritty side of the Christmas story. The church fathers chose the darkest time of the year to celebrate the birth of Christ, so Christmas music at Sojourn has always had a dark edge, a sense of tension and angst, which points us to the darkness of our own hearts that longs for the light of Christ. This new recording, A Child Is Born, is birthed almost directly out of Sojourn Church's Christmas worship services. Pastor Mike Cosper explains, "It's an indie rock record, piecing together what we could to give fans and music lovers - this homemade gift. It's not perfect, but homemade things aren't." (2011)
Christabel And The Jons Knoxville-based roots/swing band Christabel And The Jons' Christmas Album is easily the most romantic Christmas release of the year. It's the mittens warming your hands on a cold winter's day and the hot chocolate taking the chill off your winter sledding. Christabel is Donna Reed, you are Jimmy Stewart, and it truly is a wonderful life! Recorded by the Kelly Brothers at Famous London Recording Studio, produced and arranged by the Kelly Brothers and Seth Hopper. (2010)
Hipwaders With A Kindie Christmas, the Hipwaders deliver a brilliant set of original rock songs to celebrate the season. From baroque pop to blues to post-grunge, A Kindie Christmas spans the contemporary pop rock landscape with the Hipwaders' cool arrangements and warm vocals. "Wake Up," with it's parade of sleigh bells and cascading, picture-perfect postcard lyrics may just be the best two minutes of rock 'n' roll Christmas tunage ever! A Kindie Christmas became a 2010 NAPPA Award winner. (2009)
Mike Conley Mike Conley's It's a Conley Christmas is a gem of an album that highlights Mike's diverse musical tastes. Some of the cuts are acoustic, some feature his jazz band - The Beef Manhattans - and some have a heavy, groovy rock sound. Mike keeps some of the songs very traditional, but others are quite different from their original arrangements. For instance, Mike's version of "O Holy Night" has an upbeat rockabilly skip to it. Mike's version of "Christmas Time is Here" was chosen to be part of the Sounds of Christmas, Volume 2, which also features such acts as Belinda Carlisle and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. It's a Conley Christmas is an instant holiday classic! (2009)
Rough Shop Nobody told St. Louis' Rough Shop they had to make a Christmas record. But, with guitarist John Wendland's life-long love of music devoted to the holidays and the band's annual Christmas-themed benefit shows, Rough Shop just figured this was the logical thing to do for Just Because It Was Christmas, their third album. So, rather than revisiting the tired clichés of the genre, they dug up some fairly obscure songs, wrote some originals, and invited as many talented friends as they could find. Just Because It Was Christmas is not your typical holiday fare, and it runs the season's emotional gamut from celebratory to reflective. (2009)
Substance W Christmas carols - folded, spindled, and mutilated! The premiere release from Seattle-based Substance W, A Boiling Vat Of Adhesive Xmas is a 74-minute nonstop genre-jumping marathon of unpredictable yet highly accessible takes on Christmas songs old and new. If you're a fan of incredibly strange music, celebrity "golden throats," Perrey & Kingsley, Combustible Edison, The Residents, electronica, punk rock, or Esquive - or you sometimes like to impersonate Neil Diamond at karaoke bars - A Boiling Vat Of Adhesive Xmas was made especially for you, by people just like you. (2008)

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