Songs:Illinois Christmas Mixtape (2011 Edition)(Frontier Ruckus, Hayes Carll, Felice Brothers, Neko Case, + 80 more)

**Dec. 16 Update**

Here’s a couple additions to the ever evolving Christmas mix. First up is something from Michigan indie folker Carter Moulton (friend of Jeff Pianki, Caleb Groh). These two songs are off a free 8 song EP called Scarves and Sweaters.

We Need A Little Christmas [Download]

Together On Christmas [Download]

Somehow I missed these two songs from S:I favorite Steve Poltz. While both are great, the first one recorded in 2008 is a near classic, talking blues a la Todd Snider that name drops Walmart, Captain Kirk, and Barak Obama.

Christmas 2008 [Download]

Santa Claus and Prison [Download]

**Dec. 6 Update**

If you came of age in the 80′s and listened to college radio than you are probably aware of the band The Windbreakers. They were a Mississippi based duo comprised of Bobbi Sutilff and Time Lee. They had several influential releases produced by Mitch Easter and toured with the likes of the db’s and REM. I’ve tried to keep track of their solo work and as a result just stumbled upon this Tim Lee original Christmas song called “Shiny Red Suit”. It’s a glorious slab of power pop.

Shiny Red Suit [Download]

**Dec 5 Update**

Here’s a song off the new For Folk’s Sake Christmas comp. I like this one from Caitlin Rose and Keegan Dewitt. Its downbeat message of loneliness and abandonement fits in nicely with the rest of the tunes on this list. And it beats out that Christmas record from M. Ward and Zoey every day of the week in my book.

You Never Come Home For Christmas [Download]

Here it is the now famous Songs:Illinois Christmas mix for 2011. I’ll be updating this often so just check back or follow me on Twitter for updates.

**Dec. 1, 2011 Update**

I’ve got some great additions to the mix today. The first song is from Josh T. Pearson, who if all was right in the world, would have been nominated for a Grammy last night. It’s courtesy of Aquarium Drunkard (at least that’s where I found it). The second song is from WXPN favorite and Philly native Ben Smith. It’s a bit of a downer so perfect for this mix of increasingly anti-Christmas songs. I’ve also got a song from last year which I didn’t post at the time by the Branches that will get you out of the funk that Josh T Pearson and Ben Smith put you in. Finally there’s a Weepies cover by Americana artist Vanessa Peters.

O Holy Night [Download]
– Josh T. Pearson
Same Old New Year’s [Download]
– Ben Smith
Go Tell It On The Mountain [Download]
– Branches
All That I Want [Download]
– Vanessa Peters

**Nov. 30, 2011 Update**

Kind of excited about this first update of the year. Here’s two songs from Massachusetts’ based country band Salvation Alley String Band. The first is a cover of “Little Saint Nick” done to perfection and the second is a cover of the Willie Nelson tune “Pretty Paper” The band shows it’s terrific range on these two songs; look for a new album from them some time in 2012.

Little Saint Nick [Download]

Pretty Paper [Download]


Here’s the first new stuff I’d like to share. Beta Radio are a Wilmington, NC based duo who excel at vocal harmonies and kind of eclectic americana instrumentation. Here’s their song “The Song The Season Brings”

The Song The Season Brings [Download]

Also Inara George and her little duo project The Bird and The Bee have released this little xmas nugget – “Wishes”


2010 Additions to the mix:

“I’d Like You For Christmas” is an overlooked classic that this Knoxville based roots/swing band takes and makes their own. Order the new album here.

I’d Like You For Christmas [Download]


“Christmas Song” by Adam Remnant of the band Southeast Engine. Its mixture of sad nostalgia, childish wonder and naivite, and the slight hope and “reprieve” that comes from more a adult version of the holiday. This song is part of a compilation called A Very Ohio Christmas put together by the guys at Each Note Secure and Donewaiting with the proceeds going to Gracehaven – “an organization that raises awareness about the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking and also seeks to provide shelter and rehabilitation to girls who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation.” Featured on the disc are original Christmas songs by Megan Palmer, Moviola, You, You’re Awesome and many more. Buy it here via Bandcamp.

Christmas Song [Download]


Here’s a cover of Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas from The Family” from the Nashville based band Lindley Ruth and Her Tipsy String Band (with Jordan Hull).

Merry Christmas From The Family [Download]
(that morphs into “Blue Christmas” at the end)

I’m a big fan of Boston’s Caleb Groh. Whether it’s as a part of his lofi indie pop band Happiest Lion or his Christmas music project Caleb and the Caroling Caravan. So I was thrilled when he sent me a link to his new release – Vol. II of his Christmas music series. It’s available in its entirety on Bandcamp here. But for now check out his original “Christmas is Best” and the cover of the carol “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”.

Christmas Is Best [Download]

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day [Download]


Here’s a little indie folk from Nashville via the band Haunting Party (essentially Nathanael Mehrens and Aimee Romero). I like the juxtaposition of vocals on “Baby It’s Cold Out There”. That and the fact that this song, in all it’s variations, has been stuck in my head for the last week makes this an easy pick. There are 5 more songs on their Christmas ep here via Bandcamp.

Baby It’s Cold Outside [Download]


I’ve written about Lisa Cerbone in the past (here). It seems she and I both have kids about the same age. I’m guessing her daughter had at least something to do with this song selection. Here’s “The Chipmunk Song” (or The Chipmunk Christmas song as it’s know in my house).

The Chipmunk Song [Download]


We’ve got an update with songs from two bands that are mining the same territory but searching for different minerals. The west coast folk collective Branches uses traditional Appalachian instruments in their brand of indie folk. You can hear tyhis more on their two eps but a slight presence is present in these two Chrtistmas songs as well (mandolin, banjo).

O Come All Ye Faithful [Download]

Silent Night [Download]

Travel By Sea play a sleepy version of americana with weepy pedal steel and drowsy Neil Young inclined vocals.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas [Download]

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day [Download]


Pleased as punch to add this Memphis themed Christmas tune from Star And Micey.

Memphis Christmas [Download]


You might think this is disingenuous but I’m also pleased as punch to offer up this Christmas song from American Gun (love the Social D undertones). This song and the compilation it comes from is available here via the record label Rose and Arrow.

Little Manger [Download]


Slowcoustic and the Yer Bird record label provided me with this gorgeous cover of “Let It Snow” by Greater Pacific. The band has an EP coming out at the end of January. For now enjoy this languid take on “Let It Snow”.

Let It Snow [Download]


Fuzzy garage rock Christmas song from Buffalo Killers.

Secret Santa [Download]
– Buffalo Killers

Hard not to add the song “Whore For The Holidays” since I sometimes call this mix the anti-Christmas mix. This is a good slab of piano based pop from The Davenports (who I just wrote about here).

Whore For The Holidays [Download]
– The Davenports

Here’s something I missed when it came out in 2009. Don’t blame me though as the artist is as obscure and, in parts, as talented as you can get. I’ve written about his oddball lofi folk before (he performs under the name Happiest Lion). Here he goes by Caleb and Caroling Caravan and his 2009 Christmas release is available here free.

Christmas Don’t Be Late [Download]


Thanks to Herohill for pointint us in the direction of the new Christmas song from OX. I had these guys play a house concert a couple of years back as they were driving through on the way to SXSW. Great guys – great band – great songs!

Xmas in the Jailhouse (via Herohill [Download]

Here’s a reader’s suggestion of a little more sacrilegious Christmas music; this time from Las Vegas’ best and only Irish folk-punk-rock band. I can’t help but like the line “and Santa Claus and Jesus Christ can kiss my Irish ass”.

Whiskey Christmas – Darby O’Gill and the Little People [Download]


The Holidays Are Here (And We’re Still At War) [Download]
– Brett Dennen

I Wanna Spend My Xmas Time With You [Download]
– Phil Lee

Christmastime Blues – Jaimi Shuey [Download]
(her 2007 debut release Wrong Girl is a must have!)

Bastard Brothers [Download]
– Chip Taylor

All Alone For Christmas [Download]
– Danny Barnes

Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) [Download]
– Laura Marling

Christmas In Paradise [Download]
– Mary Gauthier

Thanks for the Roses (Merry Christmas) [Download]
– Antje Duvekot

She’s Underneath the Mistletoe [Download]
– Antsy McClain

Here comes Christmas [Download]
– Bill Kelly

Crazy Cool Christmas [Download]
– Kermit Ruffins

Cold White Christmas [Download]
– Casiotone For The Painfully Alone

Great Adventure [Download]
– Dan Byrk

I Want a Hippopotomus For Christmas [Download]
– Paul Vickers And Leg

Christmas Is Coming Soon [Download]
– Blitzen Trapper

Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be So Bad [Download]
– The Backsliders

Christmas Or Columbus (Andy Hong’s Kitchen) [Download]
– Drew O’Doherty

Christmas Is For Losers – Mike Nicolai

Cosy Evenings [Download]
– Dan Byrk

All I Ever Get for Christmas Is Blue [Download]
– Over The Rhine

O Holy Night [Download]
– Benji Cossa

Darling Christmas Is Coming [Download]
– Over The Rhine

The Christmas Song [Download]
– Nourallah Brothers

You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch [Download]
– Asylum Street Spankers

Christmas At The Trailer Park [Download]
– Antsy McClain

The Little Baby [Download]
– Hefner

So this Is Christmas [Download]
– ? (lost in the shuffle – extra points if you leave the answer in the comments)

Santa’s Hungover [Download]
– Santa’s Hungover

Christmas In Vermont [Download]
– Ed’s Redeeming Qualities

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen [Download]
– Hoax Funeral

Be My Valentine On Christmas – Glenna Bell

The Christmas Song [Download]
– Mark Jungers

Red Eyed Santa [Download]
– Dick Smith

Gold Front Tooth [Download]
– Dick Smith

That Was The Worst Christmas Ever [Download]
– Sufjan Stevens

I Hate Fucking Christmas [Download]
– The Rugburns (live)

Christmas Past – Mike Ireland and Holler

Christmas In London [Download]
– Krista Detour

Christmas In Prison – Emmy the Great and Lightspeed Champion

Christmas In Prison Live – Will Kimbrough

Christmas In Prison [Download]
– Cristabel and the Jons

Christmas Eve – Salim Nourallah

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear [Download]
– Laura Gibson

It’s Almost Christmas [Download]
– Chris Garneau

Just Like Christmas [Download]
– Low

Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis [Download]
– Neko Case

Christmas Island – Leon Redbone

X-Mas Song [Download]
– Fireflies

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas [Download]
– Rose Polenzani

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas [Download]
– Hem

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause – John Prine

Merry Christmas From The Family – Robert Earl Keen

Merry Christmas From The Family [Download]
– Jill Sobule

Christmas On Ward #7 – Chris Flew [Download]

Driving Home, Christmas Eve [Download]
– Frontier Ruckus

Jewish For Christmas [Download]
– Coconut and The Duke (from former blogger Duke Of Straw)

What Do You Give A Wookie For Christmas? -Savanteous Q Malmsteen [Download]

Christmas Vision [Download]
– Beau Jennings

Murder By Mistletoe [Download]
– The Felice Brothers

It Never Snows [Download]
– The Parson Red Heads

Don’t Want Another Christmas Like Last Christmas [Download]
– Gentleman Auction House

Christmas Time [Download]
– The Krayolas With Augie Meyers

Christmas Song [Download]
– Detroit Junior

It’s Christmas Time Again [Download]
– Harley Poe

RockABilly Christmas [Download]
– Michael Bishop

So Much Wine [Download]
– The Handsome Family

I’m Grateful for Christmas This Year [Download]
– Hayes Carll

River [Download]
– Lex Land

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