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!