In an effort to expand my ever-narrowing horizons I picked up a music CD by George Strait called “The Best of George Strait-The Christmas Collection.” I have never been much for the country music scene even though its popularity, unlike my horizons, seem to be expanding.
I picked the CD up on the random advice of an older woman who was alongside me looking at a number of Christmas CDs at Walmart. I was really just looking with no real intention of buying but she regaled me with the wonderfulness of this CD. Now she was obviously a country music fan as she also described for me a number of other country star’s music, but she also told me she really liked Bing and others of his elk. I like Bing and his cohorts too, so I thought I would take a chance on George Strait.
Now, I am aware of George Strait so he must be kind of well known, but I really picked up his CD because I did not want to hurt her feelings, as she seemed so positive that I would like it. (I tend to avoid yard sales, going to the market alone, and other smaller venues where things are sold, as I always feel like I should buy something so I do not hurt the vendor’s feelings—I do not have the same feeling in big box stores, groceries stores or stores like Sears). Besides, it was only five dollars—probably due to the fact that it originally came out in 2003.
So, I just put it on and my first thoughts are of Gene Autry, one of my dad’s favourites—and something I was introduced to as a youngster (and have sort of rejected for lo these many decades.) I am getting the feeling that George Strait is of the “old school country” and not the flashy, sequined, new country which is awfully close to rock and roll. So far, he is homey, bringing back Christmas memories of my long-ago youth.
I really like his ballad “Old Time Christmas”—he just sang “the magic never melts away” and being a long-time champion of Christmas I could not agree more. I give credit to my parents, particularly my mom for creating unforgettable Christmases and my eternal fondness for this time of year, though it is a much different celebration for an adult than a child. I find that I am now the creator of Christmas good (and hopefully not too many bad) times and no longer just the recipient of good cheer. A heavy mantle to carry, but I (mostly) enjoy it.
Now he is singing “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”, and his rendition is beautiful. Admittedly this is one of my favorite songs, but he is up to the task. It takes well to “countryfying”. I love snow but in context. In the context that it does not make the roads slippery. I love how it transforms the bleak winter landscape, blanketing everything in white.
“Jingle Bell Rock” is the next song. Not one of my favourite—must bring back unpleasant memories–though I cannot conjure them now. It is just a feeling…. Next up is “All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth). I remember the days when I was wishing for my front teeth—losing my baby teeth was an inexplicably traumatic time for me, so no good memories there. Strange that I can still remember that.
The next tune is unfamiliar. Called “Merry Christmas (Wherever You Are)”, it is kind of sad. But I like the subsequent one on the CD. It is called “Noel Leon” and is about a fellow named Leon who leaves his Christmas lights up all year, with a flashing Noel sign, making it “feel like Christmas all year long.” It is a story song—really quite lovely. And my description of it is sorely lacking—it is a must hear.
The eternally festive song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is properly upbeat—a well-worn song that may have been played one too many times. Not like the last song—which is my favourite of all time. Called “The Christmas Song”—I envision chestnuts roasting on an open fire with such fond nostalgia. Which is strange, since I have never experienced first hand chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
So, do I like the CD? Yes. Do I like George Strait? Yes. Am I a country music fan now? Sort of. And I would like to thank the lady who recommended him in the music aisle at Walmart. Five dollars well-spent. George is now joining my Christmas repertoire of James Taylor, Michael Buble, Carole King, Bing Crosby, Sting, and Nat King Cole (who sings my favourite rendition of “The Christmas Song” ever).
What is your favourite Christmas tune, song, CD, or carol?