12 Songs for Christmas: Dejlig Er Jorden (Beautiful is the Earth)

I created not just one new song, as we've already discussed, but two new lyrics inspired by a Christmas concert by Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum. Both are rough translations—or loose paraphrases—that allow us to sing great Danish music in English. The second one is on deck today. It extends my recent train of thought … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Dejlig Er Jorden (Beautiful is the Earth)

12 Songs for Christmas: “River” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

Possibly my favorite Christmas song ever, which of course was written by Joni Mitchell. Performed here with worthy vocals but the real point is the song and the exceedingly fine jazz arrangement. Mike drop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1dsuUzJOBs Believe it or not, some of the other songs on this album are even better. This record is a must-listen … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: “River” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas in Washington

“It’s Christmas time in Washington, and the Democrats rehearse. Getting into gear for [an upcoming] year of things not getting worse. Republicans drink whiskey neat and thank their lucky stars. [Thanks to Senate minority rule, with Wyoming voters weighing 68 times more than Californians] There’ll be no more FDRs.” So said Steve Earle, more or less, … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas in Washington

12 Songs for Christmas: Kanye’s Christmas Opera

A year ago, Kanye West was in the news because he had premiered a high-concept and well-publicized Christmas “opera” at Lincoln Center. I wrote about it then, and today I am bringing this earlier reflection back so that people have another chance to find it. I do this, in part, because of how interestingly this … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Kanye’s Christmas Opera

12 Songs for Christmas: Ice Age Paradise

Today I want to share my favorite song from what, in my experience, ranks among the most sadly unknown and underrated records ever made:  Ice Age Paradise, by Sienna Dahlen. https://siennadahlen1.bandcamp.com/track/ice-age-paradise I learned of Dahlen when I spent a semester working in Edmonton, Alberta, and hung out at the great jazz club there called Yardbird … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Ice Age Paradise

12 Songs for Christmas: “Every Star Shall Sing a Carol (new millennium peace version)”

Trigger warning! I am the sort of geek who actually cares both about schisms among subtypes within subtypes of Calvinists (Presbyterian and Congregationalist) in the antebellum US (which mattered for things like ending slavery and the ongoing curricula of US liberal arts colleges) as well as which factions of the academic left have a correct … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: “Every Star Shall Sing a Carol (new millennium peace version)”