Sorry for the delay- I couldn’t get WordPress to cooperate earlier; perhaps I did something wrong.
Over the first five days of Roots Songs of Christmas, we’ve been heavy more often than not. Most of the songs have been on the serious side with only “Wish You A Merry Christmas” lightening things a wee bit. We’ve done the traditional (“The Huron Carol”) and the contemporary classic (“Christmas Must Be Tonight”). We’ve looked at the intentionally downbeat (“Call Collect On Christmas”) and at the depressing (“Get Me Through December). We haven’t yet explored the humourous, cutting side of Christmas songs and that is where I want to take us tonight.
Winterbloom is a collective of four singer-songwriters who come together annually in December for a limited series of appearances. I came across the band a few years ago when I went into a deep Meg Hutchinson phase, includes a review of a previous album. The others in the group are Anne Heaton, Natalia Zukerman, and Antje Duvekot, and three years ago they released an e.p. or very short album entitled Winterbloom: Traditions Rearranged. I discovered it quite by chance and loved it from first listen.
The song I feature tonight is Antje Duvekot’s “Thanks for the Roses (Merry Christmas),” a funny little number that features sharp wit and a warm cleverness that isn’t so smug as to overwhelm the melody, nor so silly as to distract from it. In less than four minutes, it says almost everything that needs to be said about a relationship that is about to snap, and apparently not a moment too soon.
The (not so) little annoyances of one’s partner are known to all of us, and these tend to amplify themselves at times of stress and togetherness- such as the holidays- and when compounded by the inappropriate or thoughtless gift- three sizes too small- there isn’t really any other outcome possible: “the song’s got it right- it’s going to be a silent night.”
It is a song that I have included on almost every Christmas mix tape I’ve made since I first heard it. Each of the eight songs on Traditions Rearranged has something to recommend it. Hutchinson’s “Of The Magi” interprets the O. Henry story and she also is featured on “O Holy Night.” Zukerman’s telling of Greg Brown’s “Rexroth’s Daughter” is near epic. Heaton’s tunes swing. A real beautiful seasonal album, especially great for late night listening.
Today’s non-Roots Christmas Song of the Day is Brenda Lee, from 1958 “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” She’s one of the best and this rendition has lasted this long for a reason; Lou Ann Barton’s version is also very nice, while Kim Wilde’s recent turn is…memorable?
As always, thanks for visiting FervorCoulee.