Off-Topic: Holiday Music

I have had an Internet radio station, Festival Radio, since 2000, as one of the early adopters on the Live365 ratio service, and am currently one of the longest-tenured broadcasters still with the service. My station is a freeform mix of genres, including folk (both traditional and contemporary), singer-songwriter, Celtic, cajun/Zydeco, bluegrass, technofolk, worldbeat and more.

For the last several years, I have also had a holiday station, Festival Christmas, very much in the same vein. Over 38 hours of Christmas music is in rotation, with a wide variety, including many artists produced at Jay's studio in Philadelphia. Some of my favorite holiday CDs that receive heavy airplay on the station are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  • Blackmore's Night - Winter Carols: More ren faire than Deep Purple
  • Brave Combo - It's Christmas, Man!: It's a holiday polka party! Everybody must dance.
  • Bruce Cockburn - Christmas - features the Huron Carol along with other generally lesser-done holiday repertoire
  • Don Peris - Brighter Visions From Afar - guitarist for The Innocence Mission, mellow and ambient
  • Eileen Ivers- An Nollaig - An Irish Christmas: from the Celtic music legend and fiddler for the original Riverdance
  • Harvey Reid and Joyce Anderson - Christmas Morning: husband and wife trad folkers. She plays fiddle and he can play just about anything with strings
  • Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album: No expense was spared in naming this album. A little dark in spots, but you'd expect that from these lads
  • Jon Anderson - 3 Ships: Underrated 80s gem from the lead singer of Yes
  • Loreena McKennitt - A Midwinter Night's Dream: Pan-World-Celtic melange
  • Over the Rhine: Snow Angel & The Darkest Night of the Year - two fine records by Ohio's own. I've seen them live many times and they've never disappointed.
  • Patty Loveless - Bluegrass and White Snow: one of the better bluegrass holiday records
  • The Roches - We Three Kings: tight vocal harmonies and New York attitude
  • Stephanie K - In the Silence of the Snowfall - Jazz singer from NEO, now residing in Germany. (Note: She was president of my high school class at Perry, Ohio [Lake County, not Stark]).
  • The Arrogant Worms - Christmas Turkey: "Santa's coming and he's gonna kick your #$%^ cause you've been a rotten little brat."
  • The Crossing: The Courts of a King - Any Christmas album that starts with a didgeridoo is okay by me.
  • Woody Phillips - A Toolbox Christmas: tuned power tools. I kid you not. It's a pretty amazing musical achievement.

I also write about folk music at FolkBlog.

What are your favorite holiday albums/songs/performances?

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