Bitter, cynical, and borderline misanthropic for most of the year, I reform for the holiday season and from mid-November to the last minute of Epiphany I’m all about the season. Readers of Old Road Apples will find themselves under a constant barrage of holiday fare this season–from themed essays to book reviews to a countdown of my very favorite Christmas recordings.
The second of two albums called “We Three Kings” in a row on this list, this one, by the three sisters known as The Roches, this is another one I bought on a whim from a discount rack in a department store, and in the years since I’ve bought half a dozen additional copies to give as gifts to relatives and especially good friends. The Roches’ songs are vocal-driven, deeply harmonious but pleasantly quirky. You haven’t heard voices mixed together quite like this before, and that’s a very good thing.
The subject of Christmas music is a study in minute differences of interpretation and presentation, with literally thousands of albums covering a genre in which just a few dozen songs are counted as “classics” and “standards.” The Roches make it interesting, weaving their unique voices together to create something that is both fun and beautiful.
This stuff is interesting enough to listen to loud and traditional enough to let play quietly in the background while you nibble cookies, cold shrimp, and from a cracker and cheese tray with your 89-year old aunt Julie.