Joseph Bradshaw & Kyle Cox – Merry Christmas from Coast to Coast (2015)

Joseph Bradshaw & Kyle Cox - Merry Christmas from Coast to Coast (2015)

Self Released
Buy: Bandcamp

Nashville’s Kyle Cox has a long history of Christmas tunes, just check out his Bandcamp page! This year, rather than a one-off single, Kyle got together with a fellow musician from Los Angeles, Joseph Bradshaw, and the two put their heads and songs together to create a 4-track Christmas EP,  appropriately titled Merry Christmas from Coast to Coast. Consisting of 2 covers, and 2 originals, I am going to focus on the originals… because they are wonderful.

Joseph Bradshaw’s “Christmas is Always” is an absolutely gorgeous old-time, uptempo country waltz. Joseph’s voice reminds me of Dave Wilson from Chatham County Line, which I would consider a high compliment. The lyrics are truly beautiful: “Christmas is always / it’s ever with you. / When your heart’s full and glad / then you’ll know that it’s true. / So always remember, / whatever you do, / that Christmas is always / it’s ever with you.” In my last post I decried the need some have for pro-Christmas songs… but I’ll tell ya, there has to be a balance, and this song’s pro-Christmas beauty will help sustain a season of dirges.

Kyle Cox’s “Don’t Make My Christmas Blue” begins, and immediately I began thinking – is this an Avett Brothers tune?? I mean that in the best of ways – I know there are some serious Avett detractors out there, but I pretty much adore everything from Emotionalism and earlier. Its simple arrangement, heartfelt vocals, and lovely production blend together beautifully. “I know this time of year can bring you down; / Everyone but you is floating on a cloud. / But it’s hard to feel it, / this Christmas spirit, / when every day you only say how much you really hate it. / I won’t say happy holidays to you / and you don’t have to act like you want me to / No, I won’t say happy holidays to you / if you don’t try to make my Christmas blue.” The Avetts should cover it… and make Kyle a boatload of money!

Bottom Line: The always-wonderful Mad Mackerel first hipped me to this release, and I’m quite glad they did. All four tracks are done quite well, most especially the pair of originals, which are some of the country/folk standouts of the season. Name your own price and send them a few bucks, why don’t you?

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Wheels Fargo and the Nightingale “The Christmas Presents’ Blues” (2014)

Wheels Fargo and the Nightingale

Part Records
Buy: 7Digital MP3/FLAC | Amazon UK (CD)

First off, isn’t it great having Stubby back? Secondly, how about some Italian rockabilly/bluegrass for your holiday season? Wheels Fargo and the Nightingale have released a new record, At the Hayride!, with an original Christmas tune to boot! For those looking for a country-feel for your Christmas mix, look no further than these imports (and I stress import- its not out in the states!). One of the originals on their new record just happens to be “The Christmas Presents’ Blues,” and its a solid piece of work. The song is simply about those presents that just don’t go right – shoes don’t fit, names are misspelled, and so forth. This would be for the yodeling cowboy in your family, most certainly.

Bottom Line: I will grade this as one should a wine – and let it be reflective of the qualities of the style it was written in, not necessarily how much I enjoy listening to it. While this sound is not necessarily along the lines of my own personal taste, it is done well and exudes an earnestness that I appreciate. Unfortunately, it loses points for not having an easy means to buy it as single track. 3.8/5

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