I often say that if you can record a fantastic Christmas song, then your “regular” songs are likely going to be amazing. Writing an interesting Christmas song – with all of their seductive cliches – requires a fresh prospective that eludes even the best of bands. So when I find an artist whose Christmas song catches my ear, I smash that follow button. Philadelphia’s Brittany Ann Tranbaugh is the latest to score a follow, and is one more artist to watch in what is becoming an absolutely incredible queer folk/country scene. Over the past few years, that scene has become by far the most interesting collective within the genre. Folks writing from a different point-of-view than we’ve all be programmed to expect… that sounds fucking fantastic to me. Brittany Ann began working on her new Christmas song, “Christmas Flannel Song,” back in 2021 (well, at least she released her demo then), and in that simple vocal and guitar arrangement, you really get to appreciate the quality of her voice.
The lyrics tell the story of a Christmas present never given, and while the song is certainly one rooted in certain sadness, there is a cleverness to the her wordplay that shimmers with silver linings.
I’m holding onto this one thing
You won’t find it under your tree
It’s the shirt that I got you for Christmas
Cuz it looks pretty good on me
Fa la la la la la la la la la la la la la, fa la la la la la la
Guess it’s more like a dirge than a carol
That I sing while the fireplace burns
And I’m donning my new gay apparel
Cuz it’s final sale no returns
This season, Brittany Ann has fleshed out the production, as the song has reached a spectacular final form adding percussion, banjo, piano, bass and perfect vocal harmonies to give the song a welcome warmth. This song alone is most certainly worth a follow, a purchase, and a place on your mix.
Bottom Line: I don’t shy away from a dirge, especially when it is this good.