december 2009

merry-kidsmasMERRY KIDSMAS
The Song Trust
Giantslayer Records/51 Songs/Welk Music Group

Propelled by a moving 2007 hit single sung by a six-year-old girl wishing for her soldier father to come home from his overseas deployment to be with the family during the holidays, “Bring Him Home, Santa” now has company in the form of 11 other songs mostly sung by children expressing their hopes and joys for the Christmas season. Partnering with Country Music Television’s One Country program, the Nashville-based songwriters collective that calls itself The Song Trust has expanded the concept of its first single into an entire album, with proceeds from its sales slated going to the USO to benefit members of our Armed Forces. It’s a good cause, and it’s a fun record.

There’s nothing deep here in terms of ambitious explorations of seasonal favorites or grandiose productions, but the simplicity of the arrangements and performances makes for a winning ticket. All but two of the songs come from The Song Trust, principally members Rory Feek (of the acclaimed husband/wife duo Joey + Rory, whose debut album, The Life Of a Song, was one of the delights of 2008) and Tim Johnson, who together also produced the CD. The fare ranges from heartfelt wishes from an impish sister that Santa bring her brother a “Box of Rocks” because “he’s been bad a lot,” as she proceeds to catalogue in the lyrics; a boy’s tale of misery about having to hear his perpetually tuneless dad break out in song during the holidays (“Even My Daddy Sings,” summed up succinctly in the verse: “It’s not his fault he doesn’t have the talent/we don’t have the heart to tell him it’s not good/when he opens up his mouth you’ll hear the howlin’/by all the dogs in our neighborhood”); a girl’s breathless recitation of encountering Santa Claus one memorable night (“A Christmas Story”), performed to a galloping rhythm with shimmering harmonica and hearty tenor sax punctuations; a lovely, thoughtful ballad, “Christmas Is,” sung by a boy-girl duo (Feek and Johnson also make vocal appearances), that emphasizes the sacred nature of the season as much as its hurly-burly and gift giving aspects. The original songs are supplemented by three seasonal favorites: a faithful rendition of Harry Simeone’s “Little Drummer Boy”; a honky-tonk inflected “My Two Front Teeth,” complete with the appropriate gap-toothed whistles and a rather sizzling electric guitar solo to boot; and a toddler’s hilarious attempt to get through “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” here understandably titled “Wudolph (The Red Nose Reindeer),” acknowledging the lad’s tussles with enunciation—it also may be the first recording ever that stops short when the lead vocalist decides he doesn’t want to sing anymore and his complaints are literally left on the record. In addition to “Bring Him Home, Santa,” a couple of other tracks—such as “Wudolph,” for one—might well become staples of holiday season airplay. But in the spirit of the season, the good that come of this disc only starts with the music, then goes well beyond it to support a greater good. Even old Ebenezer himself would fall for its charms. –David McGee

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024