It’s Christmas Eve and while the “eve” part doesn’t really kick in till after 6 p.m. many clubs opt to cancel any regularly scheduled shows or simply not to open at all on this day of mad last-minute shopping, tree decorating and scrambling to get together with loved ones for that most sacrosanct holiday of them all tomorrow.
Like dedicated elves readying Santa’s toys and goodies for his sleigh, however, there’s still a few musicians working today, as some rooms still put on their afternoon shows and a couple even have evening offerings of some sort or another.
Meanwhile if you want to get into the festive spirit there are plenty of online places to go to find Christmas tunes. For me, the ones that are most interesting are the original compositions and I’ve put together a shortlist of a few you might want to check out.
Before I get into that, just a brief word about why my greeting with this post says “Merry Christmas” rather than the more ‘politically correct’ “Happy Holidays”. Although I’m well aware that many of my readers are Jewish and hopefully a few also observe Kwanza, while still others I’m certain regard Festivus as the true sprit of the season, I was raised celebrating Christmas. As a father and grandfather, it still has meaning for me, albeit more on the Santa side than for Baby Jesus. The Christmas I celebrate is a season of good will and charitable vibes to everyone, irrespective of faith and I believe cultural inclusiveness respects that. If someone says “Happy Hanukkah” to me I don’t feel offended, I feel honoured that they extend their most heartfelt good wishes to include me who is not even of their faith. And so I believe should everyone feel free to express their wishes for good cheer and love in the way that they are most comfortable doing —or in any whichever way they want to do so! End of rant.
I’ll start my listening suggestions off with a few I mentioned this time last year, because great Christmas songs just don’t go out of style, they get better as each year passes.
(To that end, I’m including in this post a link below to a live streaming music track of a Christmas edition of the “Open Season” radio show I taped and released to subscribers on Dec. 21 2009, which contains original songs by local artists and one live cover recording. You can also check it out anytime in its separate post on the Music section of the site. Later in this post I’ll also direct you to some other online Christmas radio stuff you may also enjoy.)
Folk artist David McLachlan is getting ready to release a new album early in 2017. But a song he wrote some time ago, “Bright Star at Christmas,” is featured on his jango.com radio page at http://www.jango.com/music/David+McLachlan.
Folks who know eclectic Adult Contemporary songwriter Harpin’ Norm Lucien for the strong sense of social awareness evident in the tunes he’s been writing over the past couple of years may regard his “Praise The Christmas Birth,” as a bit of a departure for him. But longtime fans know he’s also written many feel-good ditties over the years and this one has a warm, fulfilling feel in that tradition. You can hear it on his cbc.ca page.
Last year Pop/Adult Contemporary songwriter Carmen Toth first released her song, “This Christmas I’m Giving You Love,” which she wrote for her family. In a video that explains the sweet tune’s genesis, she tells us that when she found that she wasn’t able to buy gifts for her family “I decided to write them a song instead.” The tune is again available through her bandcamp site for just $1.00, with the proceeds being donated to the War Child Canada charity that helps victims of hostilities such as those still going on in Syria.
Speaking of armed conflicts, Krista Earle last year releases a touching ballad about a little girl wishing her solider dad could come home for Christmas. It’s called “Dear Santa” and is available to hear and watch on her YouTube page.
New this year, Jazz singer Lily Frost has an original Christmas tune that I enjoyed listening to on the media download version of “The Three Wise Guys” and so can you.
The late Folk songwriter and balladeer Stan Rogers recorded a touching Christmas song, “First Christmas”, before he died that someone found in the dusty archives and has now posted on YouTube.
I’ve previously mentioned the “Get Yer Fah Lah Lahs Out” album released a decade or more ago by Jaimie Vernon through his Bullseye Records company, some of which I spun on the 2009 “Open Season” radio show you can hear elsewhere. Several Canadian Rock artist do untraditional versions of well known Xmas chestnuts, along with some originals, and it’s an engaging seasonal listen. Now, happily, there’s a brand new compilation out, Volume 3, and it’s available for online purchase.
If you’re a Blues fan, writer and radio host Gary Tate has compiled a tasty playlist of 21 tracks that you can also stream online via his podcast.
And finally, here’s a direct stream of my 2009 radio show episode with the overblown introduction left intact for historical purposes (lol):
-Gary 17, TorontoMoon.ca
SHOW LISTINGS for Saturday, December 24, 2021
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). Events preceded by question mark (?) usually take place but have not been confirmed. Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum.
Names of subscribers appear in bold, are underlined and, where applicable, include a live link to their websites. Advertisers’ listings are in larger, highlighted type, include live link to website and also have ad icon included in listings.
416 – TORONTO CENTRAL
3-6> Bob Brough Quartet @ The Pilot, 22 Cumberland St., TO ~Jazz
9> Quincy Bullen @ Poetry Jazz Café, 224 Augusta Ave., TO ~songwriter
416 – TORONTO EAST
4-7> Johnny Canpar and Friends @ Sauce on Danforth, 1376 Danforth Ave., TO East
416 – TORONTO WEST
8:30> Christmas Eve Love-In with Irish Alex & Rubie Magnitude @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West
*3:30-7> acoustic jam @ Galt Legion Branch 121, 4 Veterans Way, Cambridge
4-8> Terry Finn & 4Front for Christmas open house party @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
4> Susan Latimer @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St., Oshawa ~original Roots-Pop
5-8> Christmas karaoke @ Tartan Tavern, 555 Rossland Rd. E., Oshawa ~Pop Rock
**2-4:30> Davidson, Dicresce & Nero host jam with guests @ Pub Fiction, 1242 Garner Rd. W., Ancaster ~Rock/Top 40
*2> The Brakemen Brunch @ Casbah Lounge, 306 King St. W., Hamilton ~originals & cover Rock/R&B; $5
**2> Brant Parker Band with guest @ Donnelley’s Pub, 54 Front St., Thorold ~Blues
*1-4> Saturday Christmas Blues holiday event with James Anthony Band @ Black Swan Pub Burlington, 4040 Palladium Way, Burlington ~Blues
1:30-4:30> Daryl Gray @ Gator Ted’s, 1505 Guelph Line, Burlington ~Pop Rock
4-8> Chuck Jackson’s Christmas Party @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~
9> dj dance party @ Fionn MacCool’s Oakville, 350 Dundas St. E., Oakville ~Pop
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