The Christmas anniversary is a dream come true for Dan Blakeslee. He recounts that in 2006 he began recording Christmas carols on his meager home gear to share with his family as gifts. Those humble beginnings sparked his desire to record a full Christmas album with his band The Calabash Club. This process started in 2019 and comes just in time for some joy in 2020.
Christmas carols are meant to be timeless and damn if Blakeslee hasn't put together a wonderful amount of them. He revisits some classics like "Santa is Coming to Town" and "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" but the real joy here is the originals from Blakeslee. Titles such as “Mister Candy Cane” and “Glowin & # 39 ;, Blowin & # 39 ;, Jumpin & # 39 ;, Swayin & # 39 ;, Wishin & # 39 ;, Swingin & # 39 ;, Dancin & # 39 ;, Rockin & # 39 ;, Fishin & # 39 ;, Laughin & # 39; Christmas Tree ”show its joyful and playful side, while“ It's Almost Christmas Morning ”and“ Christmas Tree Calling ”find it in a more reflective mode.
Photo credit: Michael Winters
The songs themselves are only part of the charm, however. Blakeslee's voice, not to mention the musical arrangements, transports you to a 1940s jazz club. New Orleans is the most famous point of reference. Trumpet, clarinet, accordion and pedal steel give Blakeslee's acoustic guitar and the Calabash contribution of piano, bass and drums flair. It comes together to make the music heartwarming and cheering.
I'm particularly interested in the Blakeslee original "The Somerville Lights". In a figurative and literal sense, it comes true: Blakeslee and I lived a few blocks apart in a town called Somerville, Massachusetts.
Electric stars shine on the houses, roofs are illuminated by a team of reindeer.
Light colors tone the frozen snow, even traffic lights bring a festive glow.
We'll see the lights of Somerville …
Twangville is honored by Dan Blakeslee and the Calabash Club for the premiere of "The Somerville Lights". The Christmasland Jubilee will be available next Tuesday on Blakeslee's Bandcamp site and most streaming services.
About the author: A mild corporate executive by day, an exciting Twangville resident at night.