Tag Archives: winter

Stunningly beautiful “December Nights” by Anna Ross – get your download!

Lately, life has been handing me a lot of surprises. Many of them, not necessarily welcome, but at least life isn’t boring.  I was saying to my family that I’m tired of the not-so-great surprises for a while, and as the words came out of my mouth I realized I was just cursing myself for more. (that’s the kind of month it has been, I’m afraid.) But yeah, I could use a little peace and calm for a few days.

Over the weekend, I rushed around the local malls with my husband, trying to get all of the shopping finished for Christmas. I’m probably about 90% done, but its the odds and ends that usually kill me. Today I need to do what I call “regroup” and figure out exactly what else I have to go get. I know I’m keyed up about it all because I was awake at 6:25 AM on a day when I don’t have to go to work or teach here at home. Blasphemy.

I took the opportunity to come downstairs, feed the zoo and make coffee. I sat and read social media, and checked my email. Lo and behold, another surprise was waiting for me. This time, a good one.

Anna Ross finished her holiday song – December Nights, and as a nice gift to those who pledged for her album, she sent it as a free download. How fun!

First of all, I’m a sucker for Christmas music of any kind. I haven’t really listened to it as often this year, admittedly I’ve had a hard time with the whole “Christmas spirit” thing this time around, but I still love it. The thing with Christmas, or holiday music, is that I find it fits into one of two categories: They’re either what I would consider to be timeless classics, or they’re kitschy. It’s kind of the difference between tastefully done winter decor and say, “Christmas Light Fight” (If you do not know what I mean, google that very phrase and you’ll see).  Or like Christmas Eve at my mother-in-law’s house, complete with Christmas crackers, prime rib roast, Yorkshire pudding and trifle, and Christmas morning here at my house. (I’m nothing if not a bit self-deprecating. It is pandemonium in my house on Christmas morning. One year I couldn’t find my camera because it was under all of the discarded wrapping!)  So with that in mind, a good “classic” is “White Christmas”, sung by Bing Crosby. Can’t really go wrong there, in my opinion. A kitschy-er tune would be “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer”.  I think the reasoning is probably self-explanatory.  Still fun, but I’ve got to be in the right mood to hear it.

No matter the type of music though, I love it all. I find though that when I’m cooking, wrapping or baking cookies, as I will do later in the week with my girls, I like the softer, atmospheric sounds of the season. Probably because when I’m cooking – it’s chaos enough for everyone!

So, back to Anna’s new song, aptly titled “December Nights”.  It begins very ethereal, and whispers of something familiar to me – I think it’s “Universe Alone”, and that’s probably because of the choir in the background, I am sure.  Even so, I could hear a subtle influence. Were those the quietest bit of jingle bells I heard in the background? Perfect!

What I love about the song is that it’s not reflective, loud red and green CHRISTMAS, it is winter. It is silvery, windswept snow, herbaceous evergreen, and shiny, garnet red holly berries. I can feel myself unwinding as the song plays in the background, and I already have plans to incorporate it into the playlist I’ll have going on Christmas morning as we unwrap gifts and have breakfast.

“December Nights” is lush and subtly layered. Anna’s voice blends perfectly with the music, creating the perfect winter’s night scene. Snuggly blankets, crackling fire, snow softly drifting past a window, pretty much everything that Southern California is missing in December! Anna amazes me, because while the girl can belt it like nobody’s business at a Duran show, she can also sing softly and beautifully for songs like this. I had zero expectations upon my first listen, in fact I saw she had a video out of a short snippet from the song and I purposefully waited to hear the finished product. It did not disappoint, and I love it.

“December Nights” is available as a free download to all pledges. Go get yours! Haven’t gotten involved with PledgeMusic yet? No time like the present. Follow the link!

Anna Ross – PledgeMusic





I’m Looking Out the Window…

I hate February.  I think I say that every year.  If you went back and looked at blog plots from February from last year or the year before or the year before that, etc., I’m sure there are sentences that are very similar to my first sentence.  My students are going a little stir crazy as it has been months of cold temperatures and little sunshine.  I’m dying for spring break but it is months away.

In thinking about this, I realized that the last few Februarys have also been quiet on the Duran front, too.  The band has not toured during the month of February since 2005.  Yes, they have played a few shows here and there in February but not a real tour.  Before that, they did play a few shows in February in 2001 and 1993 with longer tours only during the years of 1994, 1989, and of course, 1984.

Ah, yes, 1984 is the year of Duran-mania.  We all know about that year, that tour.  After all, we all saw Sing Blue Silver, right?  This scene always pops in my head when I think about Duran touring during the winter:

I bet that drive to Pittsburg (That is where they were headed in that scene, right?!) was a tough one.  (I recently drove right past Pittsburgh in the middle of the night in the worst fog ever so I can relate.)  In watching that scene, I always wondered if they feared that they wouldn’t make that show.  This, of course, makes me consider why they might not schedule many tours during February.

Winter can be harsh.  Traveling is certainly unpredictable during the this season.  I worried about the weather in making plans to see Duran around New Year’s in DC.  What if the weather sucked and flights got canceled?  What if I couldn’t get to O’Hare?  I had the same concerns in 2008 when I went to a few shows in the Northeast during December.  Luckily, the weather cooperated both times.

I guess the band could tour just in warm places during the winter in order to avoid potential weather pitfalls.  Then, they would be assured that they could get to the shows  without a problem.  That said, others might not be able to get to those shows as easily.  Perhaps, they realize that there is a group of Duranies who are willing to travel to see them when they can.  Their audiences are not just made up of local or nearby fans.  Some part of the crowd consists of people who traveled to go.  Therefore, tours during the winter could be problematic.

Really, I have no idea why Duran has not toured in the winter in the last ten plus years.  It could be that weather factor or something else.  As much as I understand the potential reason(s) why, I find myself wishing that there were shows coming up in a week or two.  Maybe, it is just that I’m anxious for the shows in March.  Perhaps, I just want a break from a reality that is beyond exhausting at this point.  Whatever the reason, I’ll try to hang in here until the shows get started.