I’m Dreaming of a Folk Christmas

Article written by on Monday, Dec 20, 2010 in General,Media,On The Web

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, does folk music play a part in your Christmas celebration? What’s on your folk Christmas wish list? I’ve been looking around for Christmas music in various folk styles. If you’re doing the same, has a Christmas folk music series that might give you some ideas. Richard Gillmann’s Seattle Folk Music Page lists Christmas music you may not have thought of as folk music — for instance, Ernest Tubb’s version of “Blue Christmas!” Even has a Christmas folk music list all put together. It’s fairly short, but convenient for a busy shopper. At the top of the list is the Seeger family’s collection, American Folk Songs for Christmas, a 2-disc set containing 53 songs in all.

My Christmas folk collection is tiny but growing. Light of the Stable, by Emmylou Harris, was the first folk Christmas album I acquired. I’ve had it for quite a few years now and enjoy listening to it every time. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas is a warm, beautiful, low-key mixture of original and traditional Christmas songs. Odetta’s Christmas Spirituals CD is a joy to listen to. And the child’s reading of the Christmas story in “Dickens’ Dublin” on Loreena McKennitt’s Parallel Dreams album was a pleasant surprise. This year I added the mostly instrumental Christmas Grass CD, by various artists including several name performers. It’s calming for my long work¬†commute and it has a lively version of Joy to the World.

If you enjoy listener-supported folk music radio, Folk Alley is holding its holiday contribution drive. What better way to make folk music an important part of your Christmas?

If you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas for folk-related books rather than music, what about Ralph Stanley’s autobiography, now in paperback? Reviews can be found in the Bluegrass Journal and USA Today. Or Lawrence Epstein’s Political Folk Music in America from Its Origins to Bob Dylan, released earlier this year?

Folk music is alive and well in many forms. Enjoy your choice of folk music this Christmas.

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