Sunday, December 10, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 10: Maine & Maryland

On the 10th day of Jessmas, my Google-Fu found for me:


Maine:

"The Maine Christmas Song" by: Malinda Liberty

This song reminds me of the sappy/cheesy music that plays underneath old tourism videos from the 80's.  I've never been to Maine, but I can completely picture snow-covered lanes, horse-drawn sleighs, lobster pots, mountains, and the craggy Atlantic beaches shown over the lyrics "That's the spirit of Maine at Christmastime / from her mountains to her great Atlantic shore."  Then a voice-over saying, "Come visit the spirit of Maine this holiday season."
I should have gone into advertising.

If you're from Maine, you probably really like this song, unfortunately, I just have to role my eyes at it.

2 out of 5 Lobstahs (I'm sorry...kind of)





Maryland:

"Crabs For Christmas" by: David DeBoy

Yes, this is a real song that actually gets radio play in Maryland during Christmas and is apparently a beloved Baltimore tradition at this time of year.  If you're from Baltimore or anywhere else in Maryland you probably look forward to this song every year.  I don't quite get all the jokes, but I could see why people might enjoy this song.  It's catchy, and I'm sure it hilarious if you're from the region. It's not a song I would want to hear more than once a year.

2 out of 5 Crabs (because what else would it be?)



"Christmas in Baltimore" by: Milkshake

And we have another song that sounds like it belongs in a tourism video, albeit a more modern one.  The song is a bit cheesy, but catchy and upbeat and positive, which is nice because Baltimore gets a lot of flak.  However, I didn't like this song.  It's boring and seems unoriginal.

2 out of 5 Tracey Turnblads

  


Saturday, December 9, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 9: Kentucky & Louisiana

On the 9th day of Jessmas, my Google-Fu sang to me:


Kentucky:


"Christmas in Kentucky" by: Steven Curtis Chapman

I didn't care for this song.  It sounds too generic and like every other Christian pop song I've ever heard.  The lyrics are also kind of weird.  The chorus mentions that it's Christmas in Kentucky, but it doesn't really sing about Christmas in Kentucky.  Again, just generic lyrics about God's love and that it's Christmas all over the world and blah blah blah.  The music itself is really nice and the children chorus near the end is pretty, but I'm not a fan of the song as a whole.

1.5 out of 5 Kentucky Bourbons



"Kentucky Homemade Christmas" by: Kenny Rogers

It's amazing how a song so upbeat and classic country could be so depressing.  When a song opens with "They shut down the min last summer / we're gettin' by on welfare / it's Christmas Eve I'm walking home / not a dollar to my name."  You know you're in for a real treat.
I want to think that the song is meant to be uplifting since they still have Christmas in their home, it's just not store-bought, it's homemade.  However, towards the end of the song he sings about how he'd "damn near rob a bank" to be able to buy his kids the one present they each want.
Once again, this song sings about feelings and the grimness that is a reality for many people, but I just don't like it in my Christmas music.

3 out of 5 Gambling Kenny Rogers




"No Christmas in Kentucky" by: Phil Ochs

And I didn't think it could get more grim than the previous song.  At least "Kentucky Homemade Christmas" still spoke of handmade heartfelt gifts and family.  But this song is bitter as hell about being poor in Kentucky at Christmas.  "For the trees don't twinkle when you're hungry / and the jingle bells don't jingle when you're poor."  Yikes.  Talk about a downer of a Christmas song.  Yet again, I realize he is singing about a very real often forgotten segment of the population, but damn.


1 out of 5 Coal Mines




Louisiana:

"Louisiana Christmas Day" by: Aaron Neville

This song sounds sort of like polka meets country meets Jazz and, at times, sounds like something Weird Al would write.  It was a little strange because I've only ever heard Aaron Neville sing R&B. But it is definitely a groovin tune. I don't have much to say about it other than it's a fun upbeat Christmas song to dance to.  A welcome antidote to the downer songs from Kentucky.

4 out of 5 Christmas Fleur de Lis



"Christmas in New Orleans" by Louis Armstrong

Classic big band jazz and Louis Armstrong singing about New Orleans landmarks and sights at Christmastime.  I don't know what more you need in a song.  

4 out of 5 French Quarters (Peace Y'all!)





"Christmas on the Bayou" by Vin Bruce

Now here we have some old school Bayou country music.  Guitar, steel guitar, fiddle and what sounds like some good ol' Louisiana Creole or Cajun French dialect that I, with my 5 years of (Parisian) French classes, had trouble deciphering.
This is an upbeat little ditty, and if you speak/understand more Louisiana French than I do, you'll probably quite enjoy this song.

3 out of 5 Bayou Santas




"12 Yats of Christmas" by: Benny Grunch and The Bunch

I questioned whether or not to include this song, only because I truly cannot listen to the entire thing.  This is a song I've heard many time before at Boyfriend's brother's house, as Boyfriend's sister-in-law grew up in Louisiana and thinks this song is hilarious.  Apparently, it is a New Orleans Christmas classic.  Listen at your own risk.

1 out of 5 Bourbon Streets

Artist


Friday, December 8, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 8: Iowa & Kansas

On the 8th day of Jessmas, my Google-Fu found for me:

Well, it was slim pickins in the bread basket of America as far as Christmas Songs go, but I managed to find a couple.

Iowa:

"Christmas in Iowa" by: Mulberry Lane

I don't know who Mulberry Lane is, but I am not a fan.  They're like the poor man's SHeDAISY.  They sing about how ordinary Christmas in Iowa is but that it's great because...reasons?  This song is 4 1/2 minutes long, it's over-the-top cheery and that weird country/pop hybrid, there are too many jingle bells, AND they shoe-horn a reference to Field of Dreams in there too.  Gag.  

1 out of 5 Corn 



Kansas:

"Christmas in Kansas City" by: Brad Millison

This song is definitely a product of the 80's.  It's...fine.  It's a snapshot of its time and I'm sure it holds some deep sentiment for a lot of people in Kansas City, but...eh, that's about it.  Also, I'm not entirely positive if this song is about Kansas City, Kansas, or Kansas City, Missouri.  I even tried to google the song-writer to find out where he was from, but my Google-Fu failed me.

2 out of 5 Tornadoes





Thursday, December 7, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 7: Illinois & Indiana

(Note: I'm having issues embedding all the videos, probably since there are so many for this post.  But I will link to the songs if you care to listen.)

On the 7th day of Jessmas, my Google-Fu found for me:

Illinois:

"Illinois Central Line" by: Cody Wilder

Whoa.  Talk about a downer of a Christmas song to start your day.  Don't be fooled by the blues-y harmonica or upbeat country guitar riffs, this song is downright sad.  A little boy named Ned asks Santa for a red wagon for Christmas so he can carry more newspapers for his delivery route.  The delivery route he needs "to keep his family fed."
I realize it is a reality for many children/teens in our country to have a job just so they can eat, but damn, Cody did you have to put it in a Christmas song?!  The song sort of has a happy ending.  Ned gets his little red wagon and he and his parents feel full of joy on Christmas, but remember why he asked for the wagon in the first place?  For his job.  His job.  A little boy wants a tool for his job and not a toy to play with.  It makes me sad.
Stupid feelings.

1 out of 5 Red Wagons



"Tremont, Illinois Christmas" by: Fred Haring

Ugh, what is with Illinois country music?  
This song takes the story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and turns it on it's head.  What if Mary and Joseph weren't Middle-Eastern/Jewish and traveling to Nazareth, but instead were Joe Schmo Americans traveling to Chicago. AND instead of getting stuck in Bethlehem, the had to stop in Tremont, Illinois with no motels. Oy.
I didn't think I could hate a song more than the Cheetah Girls' "Christmas in California."  But I found it.  Congratulations, Fred.  You've ruined the Christmas story for me even more than the trailer for The Star did.  If I could give a song negative points, I would.

0 out of 5 Stars



"Christmas in Chicago" by: Rob Ebbens

Ok, this is more like it.  Classic folksy guitar, slightly cheesy lyrics listing familiar landmarks and things he likes about the city, and a pleasing melody.  I've never spent any time in Chi town, but his lyrics paint nice mental images and I can tell that he loves Chicago, but not in an obnoxious way.  This song will push all of your nostalgia buttons if you've ever called the Windy City home.

3 out of 5 Deep Dish Pizzas




"Christmas in Chicago" by: Leon Russell

Now we're talkin!  When I think of Chicago music, I think of the Blues (Thanks, Adventures in Babysitting!)  And while the blues aren't necessarily my favorite genre of music, I like a good guitar or harmonica riff every now and again.  This is sort of your typical my-baby-left-me-and-now-Christmas-is-sad kind of song, but it is strictly Chicago blues and I really enjoyed it!  If you only listen to one song on the post today, make it this one.

4 out of 5 Elisabeth Shues





Indiana:

"Indiana Christmas" by: Straight No Chaser

Alright, I admit I'm already biased for this song because it's already on my Christmas playlist, I have family history in Indiana, and I really enjoy Straight No Chaser.  I'm a sucker for good a cappella. This is a lovely little song that is a nostalgia-fest especially since my dad grew up in Indy and much of the Ayers clan still resides there.  So, yes, I am biased, but that doesn't change the fact that this is certainly a nice song.

5 out of 5 Indy Cars




"Somewhere Hovering Over Indiana" from A Christmas Story - The Musical

I lived in New York when this show debuted on Broadway, but I never saw it, nor had the desire to.  Depending on who you ask, supposedly it was pretty enjoyable.  I'm always torn about the explosion of Christmas shows on Broadway that seem to pop up overnight come December.  I was one of those New Yorkers who turned their nose up at greedy-seeming producers relying on mediocre musical adaptations of popular movies to make a quick Christmas buck off of unsuspecting tourists.
But, on the other hand, shows like this employ hard-working actors and behind-the-scenes crews, 
This song is one of the last songs in the show.  In it, Ralphie, Randy, and all the children of Indiana sing on Christmas Eve as they are trying to fall asleep.  If you like Christmas songs and you like Broadway show tunes, I don't see why you wouldn't enjoy this catchy, upbeat little ballad. 

3.5 out of 5 Leg Lamps


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 6: Hawaii & Idaho

On the 6th day of Christmas, my Google-Fu sang to me:

Hawaii:

I'm sure everyone is expecting Mele Kalikimaka to be on this list, but that would just be too easy! Instead, I found other Hawaii Christmas tunes that I bet you haven't heard of, or at least are less familiar with.

"Santa's Hula" by: Hilo Hattie



According to Hawaii.com, this song made their list of  top 10 favorite Hawaiian Christmas songs.  It has that classic ukulele and steel guitar sound that is associated with Hawaiian music.  If you're sick of listening to Mele Kalikimaka but longing for a little tropical flare to your Christmas playlistthis song is a less catchy but suitable alternative.

4 out of 5 Coconuts



"My Hawaiian Christmas" by: Dennis Kamakahi




For an even less catchy, but far more soothing island sound, this is the song for you.  It's just simple guitar and vocals. Though baritone instead of tenor, I found Dennis Kamakahi's vocal style reminiscent of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (you know, the guy who sang the cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that gets played during the slideshow at every wedding and Bar/Bat Mitzvah you've ever been to?  Yeah, that guy.)
Even though this song is over 4 minutes long (way too long for a Christmas song) it was so relaxing, I didn't really mind.

4 out of 5 Leis




Idaho:

"An Idaho Christmas" by: Jerry Tlucek




I had to listen to this song twice because I tuned it out after 30 seconds, it was so generically country and twangy, that it sounded like ever other country music Christmas song I've ever heard.  This song was so bland, I can't even think of anything snarky or funny to say about it. Congratulations, Jerry, you wrote a song so dull that I can't even make fun of it!

2 out of 5 Potatoes




"Christmas in These Idaho Hills" by: Braun Family

 

In case you think I'm just hating on states that tend to produce/prefer country music or speak with some sort of drawl, rest assured that I did not hate this song.  I actually liked this one. (I know, I'm shocked too.)  I was all prepared to make fun of this one hard core because family bands are super easy targets (The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, The Osmonds) but the Braun Family surprised me.  This song is more bluegrass than country, and it has a nice rhythm to it.  The lyrics are cheesy enough for a Christmas song, but with pleasing imagery that isn't over the top. It's just a nice cozy song for a chilly December playlist.

3 out of 5 Deadly Icicles 


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 5: Florida & Georgia

On the 5th day of Jessmas, my Google-Fu found for me:

Florida:

"Christmas in South Florida" by: Mike Mineo



I was worried that I'd have to break Rule #2 with this one, but according to the YouTube comments, this song can be heard on the radio in south Florida, so woot!
I found this song (and video) quite charming in a ridiculous way.  The tune is catchy, the lyrics are funny and borderline crass without coming across nasty or mean-spirited.  Even though I've not spent Christmas in Florida, this song made me chuckle.

4 out of 5 Sand Angels




"Florida Holidays" by: Sunny Jim



If that first Florida song was too crass for you, then this song is probably more your style.  I had to dig through the bowels of YouTube to find this video because there are apparently still some professional musicians out there that don't know social media is a thing.  But I digress.  This song is pleasing the listen to.  It's a little corny and sentimental, but as I've said before, Christmas songs are kind of supposed to be those things.
I didn't not like this song.  It's nice and I can see why many people (especially Floridians) would be very fond of this song, but it's just not my cup of tea.

3 out of 5 Flip Flops




Georgia:

"Georgia Christmas" by: Diane Durrett



And I thought I was going to get through this post without hating any songs.
I really like the smokey sound of Diane Durrett's voice, but when you open a song with "Daddy's sittin' in his chair eating pumpkin pie," you cannot expect me to take you seriously for nearly 4 minutes. No Christmas song needs to be 4 minutes long.  Especially not this one.
Sorry y'all, this one is a stinker.

2 out of 5 General Lees




"Christmas in Georgia" by: Marjorie Whitley

(I couldn't get this video to embed properly, so I had to just link to it if you want to listen.)
I legit wanted to hate this song.  First, it's too long (see above).  Second, it's even cheesier than the previous song.  Third, too much flute and random jingle bells.  But try as I might...I can't hate this song.  It's sweet and catchy and darn it, I kind of liked it.  Maybe my heart is growing 3 sizes in my old age, you guys.  I might need to get that checked.

3 out of 5 Peaches



Monday, December 4, 2017

25 Days of Jessmas Day 4: Connecticut & Delaware

On the fourth day of Christmas, my Google-fu found for me:

Connecticut:

"Christmas in Connecticut" by: Allison Demers




This song starts off with lovely piano and some nice bells and chimes.  Thankfully the bells and chimes are not too over the top like a lot of Christmas tunes. She sings about Baby Jesus right off the bat, (you know, because Christmas) but I don't quite get the connection she makes to Connecticut.  I'm certainly not a biblical scholar, but last I checked, Jesus was born in the Middle East, not the Northeast.
Seriously, I listened to this song 3 times and it just sounds like she shoehorned Jesus in there because reasons.  But it's a pretty enough song and pleasant to listen to.

2.5 out of 5 Metro North trains.



"Christmas in Connecticut" by: Ben Ancona Jr.




I swear I'm not trying to hate on these songs, but they are making it so easy!  I know so many music artists dream of writing the next classic Christmas song (because royalties, hello!) but-spoilers-this one isn't it.
Again, this one starts off really soothing with delightful piano, but then he starts singing.  There's this echo/reverb on his vocals which I think was super popular back in the 80s, but 'm pretty sure this song is newer than that. Plus it sounds like he sings through his nose and is pushing the notes too hard  and it doesn't sound like he's singing healthy.  That makes it impossible for me to listen to the words.  But oh the words!  "It's either Christmas in Connecticut / it's either there or all alone / you see, now Christmas in Connecticut / that's where I call home.
WHY?!  Why are you either having Christmas in CT or you're all alone?  Why if CT is home, why would you be anywhere else?! 
My brain hurts.

1 out of 5 Metro North trains




Delaware:

"His Favorite Christmas Story" by: Capital Lights




Ok, I was kind of board with this song from the beginning.  Sure it had that generic pop/punk/rock sound and nasal singing that every band in the early 2000s had, but it's catchy and toe-tapping kind of feel good song about a guy who danced with a girl on Christmas Eve in DE and never learned her name. But then -spoilers- he doesn't meet her again until he's an old man on his death bed!  THE HELL?!  Curse you, Capital Lights for making me feel feelings!!!

2.5 out of 5 Mr. Celerys