Thursday night, a heavenly host of Houston's brightest and best musicians will spend a night playing Christmas music to celebrate the holiday season at Fitzgerald's. We decided to catch up with some of the musicians and find out what their favorite Christmas songs are, and why?
Austin Smith (A Sea Es): I think "Christmas Don't be Late" by Alvin and the Chipmunks is a pretty good one. I'm a huge fan of vocal harmonies and that Italian-ish sounding interlude in the middle is pretty cool. Christmas music is awesome because it reminds me of times when I was younger hearing those songs and remembering all the fun I had as a kid.
Feeling wistful is something I enjoy greatly, and it usually only happens around this time of year. Having said that, Christmas music nowadays is kind of like commercials: They play way too fucking much and [it's] really only aired to lube up your shopping experience.
Steve Wells, Featherface: I would have to choose Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." He really pushed the limits with that one. It seems like the kind of good-natured holiday tune one would play to set the mood at a psychedelic white-elephant party (which is probably where the song was written). Personally, it brings me back to the insanity of those sugar/eggnog-fueled nights that were so frequent during my childhood around this time of year.
La Catrin: My favorite Xmas song would have to be "Last Christmas" by Wham! It's such a great pop song and George Michael's singing is pristine. And have you seen the video?! His makeup is flawless!
Michael Mazzella, Glass the Sky: If you had asked this before we began preparing for the Fitz Navidad show, you likely would have received five different answers from the five members of GTS, but after working on our own arrangement of "O Holy Night," that one has become a band favorite.
The melodies in that song are simple, yet subtly ephemeral, which lends itself well to what we are planning to do with the song. There is something beautiful in the line "Fall on your knees/ Hear the angels' voices." No matter what religion you are or are not, there is something powerful about visualizing the passion and belief in something that is so powerful that it will bring you to your knees. Whether that passion is evoked from something material or something spiritual or emotional, that tug on the heart strings is amazing.
Craig Kinsey: I suppose "The First Noel." It is the first Christmas song I remember thinking about as a child. I asked my parents what "Noel" was. It was mysterious to me. I was also unclear on who this King of Israel was and why we care about another country's king. I have always loved words. Words that have interesting meanings and how they feel on the tongue and in the mouth. Noel is a great word and still holds a mysterious feel when I hear it.
There are no hard consonants in the word. It begins on the tip of the tongue, falls to the throat with the "o" sounds (like ohm) then back to the tip of the tongue after a quick "w" movement, like a kiss, with the lips. (Yes, I'm a fan of Nabokov.) I also like that it concisely tells a story. I like ballads, as "Lady Vodka" shows. It also, musically, somehow sounds like both a grand symphonic opera piece and a nursery rhyme. It's just a well-written song.
Vik Montemayor, Bang Bangz: I always felt like Frank around this time of year is the only way to go. You feel that warmness inside of you, like taking a double shot of whiskey on Christmas Eve with your uncles.
Benjamin Wesley: I have always liked "The Little Drummer Boy." For one, it has a nice message about a poor kid who really wants to give a gift like everyone else for the celebration of the birth of Christ, but can only give the gift of music. I like the part in the last verse where the ox and the lamb are keeping time and rocking out with him as he drum rolls for Jesus.
Also, it is pretty accurate as far as musicians go, never having money and always looking for a chance to play in front of a crowd. The only thing that really stumps me, besides the actuality of this miracle birth, is why Mary would be cool with this little kid making a bunch of noise on his drum around a newborn. Most mothers would get really upset. Maybe Jesus could sleep through anything, who knows.
John Mills-McCoin, Poor Pilate: A few years back Josh Moore played Bob Dylan's newly released Christmas album. He immediately went to the track "It Must Be Santa." I was singing along in seconds; the song was perfectly Christmas and perfectly Dylan at the same time.
Fast forward about a month... I'm standing in the kitchen with my mother telling her about the record and she started singing the lyrics to "It Must Be Santa."
"Oh. So you've heard the record?" I asked totally unprepared for her response.
"No," she replied, "That was just your favorite Christmas song when you were little. You wouldn't stop singing it."
In conclusion, I'm told that my favorite Christmas song is "It Must Be Santa"... preferably performed by Bob Dylan.
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Fitz Navidad happens Thursday at Fitzgerald's, with the above performers and Mystery Flavor, thelastplaceyoulook and Hot Pants.