Campfire Tales: Christmas 2013

With Christmas on the way and having covered a whole bunch of artists over the last six months, it seemed right that we spoke to some of them about their plans for the festive season, and about the music that makes it special for them.

So without further ado, a Campfire Tales Christmas, visiting Nashville, Tasmania, Rwanda, Newcastle, and more, and listening to Elvis, Dawes, Bing Crosby, James Brown and others along the way.

First up, what CD might you give out this holiday season?

Patrick Sweaney: It would really depend on the person's taste, but Bobby Blue Bland's Two Steps from the Blues has something for everyone.

Tim Grimm: Krista Detor - The Silver Wood: Wintersongs

Audrey Auld: Nothing Is Wrong by Dawes; it’s on high rotation at my house.

Ashleigh Flynn: Hmmm...good question! I'd probably suggest either East Nashville Skyline by Todd Snider which has a few of my all time favorite songs on it ('Play a Train Song' and 'Conservative Christian'); or the Wood Brothers' Loaded which remained in my player for well over a year after I toured with them...both are great records by near and dear artists.

Drew Holcombe: I like the classics: Bing Crosby and The Carpenters are probably the two we listen to the most in our house.

Lindsay Ell: I love Randy Houser’s latest album, How Country Feels, Keith Urban’s Fuse, and I also have been listening a lot to Imagine Dragons' Night Visions, Katy Perry’s Prism, and always a little Hendrix!

Lindi Ortega: I really love an Elvis Christmas record I have at home on vinyl - it's so great! So I would give everyone a vinyl Elvis Christmas record!

Jenn Bostic: Oh wow, tough question… you know what, my best friend in Nashville, her name's Sarah Darling, she’s put out a great Christmas CD so I’d probably gift that. It’s Christmass-y and she’s got a great voice!

OK, what’s your favourite Christmas song?

PS: James Brown's 'Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year'. Poignant, direct, and drenched with feeling.

TG: 'Christmas in the Trenches' by John McCutcheon.

AA: 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful'. I love how the melody soars and the broad dynamic range of the song. We have an old old vinyl record of Xmas songs our family plays every year. It’s a big male choir that has a lovely mixture of rich and prepubescent sounds. We always had fun with this song.

Kathryn Williams: 'Fairytale of New York' is hard to beat. We have the Phil Spector Christmas album that we put on when it’s Christmas morning.

AF: Growing up, my favorite Christmas song and story was always the 'Little Drummer Boy' (in addition to the Grinch and Charlie Brown Christmas). So, I created a version with some friends that I particularly like. Have a listen and feel free to share.

DH: Bing Crosby's 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.

LE: I love 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', and 'The Christmas Song'.

LO: Um, gosh… 'Rudolph The Rednose Reindeer'! I love Rudolph, I think it’s a great song.

JB: There’s so many, there’s the fun ones, and the deep ones. I go to church, so every Christmas Eve there’s a service, and I think that one of my favourite things about Christmas songs is that they bring back lots of memories for me.

And finally, what does the holiday season mean for you this year?

PS: Christmas is family time. Usually that involves a bit of travel to my family in Ohio or my wife's family in Arkansas, as we live in Nashville. This year my wife and I are flying to meet my brother and his wife and children in North Carolina, and we are driving with them to our parents home in Ohio. I will try to remind myself that it's Christmas, and that amateur travelers aren't sent here to annoy and delay me, and are just trying to do the same thing I am doing.

We make lots of food, spend time with family and friends. There may be a lovely single malt scotch involved. Family reminiscing at 110 decibels. Games that don't usually involve shouting, will be augmented accordingly. It's lovely really, I can't wait. Merry Christmas everybody!

TG: Home with the family... pre-holiday Concerts with the trio - The Good Bad Luckiys (Tim Grimm- Joe Crookston- Krista Detor)... getting ready for US new CD release concerts ! ("The Turning Point").

AA: For the first time in 10 years I’ll be spending Xmas day with my Mother and step-dad in Tasmania. My husband arrives from Nashville on Xmas evening. I won’t have seen him for a month so I trust he’ll be wearing a bow! My Mum is from Hanworth, Middlesex and always filled our Xmas with beautiful English traditions, her speciality being Xmas pudding as her mother used to make. It’s summer in Australia in December, so it’s been lovely to be living in Nashville and have a winter Xmas there. I had my first white Xmas a few years back.

KW: I'm going to my Mum and Dad’s. Then a quiet New Year back at home, having friends over to the cafe we own in Newcastle (the Settledown Cafe).

AF: While I rejoice more in the Solstice, every year for the past five or so, I have hosted a themed Christmas Eve dinner for family and friends. For example, the first year theme was "WWJE - or What Would Jesus Eat; another was Noche Buena - Mexican themed; last year was an Italian themed Festa Dei Sette Pesci (Feast of the Seven Fishes - which I will never do again! I didn't even know there were seven edible types of fish, much less having to cook them all!). This year we are doing an East African meal in honor of my sister and her newly adopted Ugandan child.

DH: My brother lives in Rwanda, so I am taking a pre Christmas trip to visit him, then we will have a low key Christmas at home this year, with lots of sitting by the fire, movie watching, peppermint Schnapps, and shopping for gifts.

LE: I haven’t seen my family much at all this year as I’ve been traveling so much, and it is my dad’s 60th birthday this upcoming January, so we are actually all flying to Hawaii for Christmas for a family vacation that we haven’t had in years! I have never been to Hawaii, so it’ll be very nice for a few days! :)

LO: Well I’m just gonna go back to Nashville actually. I haven’t really thought about Christmas, cause I don’t get back until the 21st. I can tell you that my Christmas tree is black (laughs). And I decorate it with red roses and carnations, and red lights. I’m gonna make it kinda like a gothic Christmas tree. I’m not religious at all and I’m not into the consumerism, so it’s really just Christmas for the cats! I have two at home. I’m gonna buy them some wrapping paper, ‘cause they’ll probably like that more than toys, some things on a string, cat treats; it’ll be a very merry catmas!

JB: Well usually it’s spent with family and it’s pretty low key. We’ll do a church service and then just do gift exchanging with close family and friends, a big meal, and then cosy games by the fire. I love board games! I love Cranium, and I like card games like rummy. It has to be something relatively competitive game-wise. My mom lives in Florida, so we every other year we have a sunny Christmas. It’s different; Santa actually comes in on a surfboard

Right, that's it! have a great holiday, listen to loads of great music and we'll be back next year for more country, folk, blues, roots, and other Americana-tinged delights.

There are some cracking records in store with Eric Church, Hurrah For The Riff Raff, Blackberry Smoke, Lincoln Durham and Whiskey Myers some of the names with new music due to drop in 2014. And there will be plenty of live music to go see. Most of the artists who we've spoken to above have tours early in 2014 so check out their websites for dates.

And what do we think? Well, you can't beat a bit of Johnny Cash at Christmas.

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