Monday, November 29, 2010

Quiet Music Amidst the Holiday Blare

by Julia Buckley

Strange as it seems, some radio stations were playing Christmas music the day after Halloween, and of course the stores were hawking that Christmas merchandise weeks ago.

Worse than that, every Muzak system I've heard so far is focused on either the "Screaming Christmas," in which people shout words like "silent" and "still," or the "Groaning Christmas," in which the word "joy" is made to sound like a misery. I find all of this music irritating, even stress-inducing.

But I have my little musical escapes--truly lovely holiday music that feeds the soul, sung by people who aren't trying to sound like every other pop singer. I'll share them with you in hopes that you'll find pleasure in their performances--and maybe you'll be inspired to share your own holiday performances.

"Linus and Lucy" is only one of the great holiday tunes on the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack, a jazzy and nostalgic visit to holidays past, and a quiet companion for holiday activities.

Susie Bogguss is a true musical talent; her voice is lovely, and more than once she combined efforts with the great Chet Atkins, who accompanies her here.

This version of "Mary Did You Know?" by Kathy Mattea has always been my favorite; she invests it with a soulfulness that I find appropriate to the season.

What an interesting pairing: Allison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma perform The Wexford Carol--it's simply haunting, and so simple, which is my preference in Christmas music.

George Winston's piano is a nice contemplative highlight of the season, and there's something almost hypnotic about "Carol of the Bells."

Some nice serene music--which somehow never seems to be chosen for holiday shoppers.

Do you have holiday favorites? Please share! I'm always looking to expand my playlist.


Jerry House said...


Julia Buckley said...

I love them both! You obviously like songs in a minor key. I tried to find a version of "Wander" that I liked for this post, but the covers I saw weren't the best.