Just Because It Was Christmas, Rough Shop (Perdition)
From 2009, this St. Louis group marshaled eight originals and three not-often-chosen covers for this holiday collection. Of the covers, Paul Kelly's "How To Make Gravy" has a touch of country, not surprising since it's about a guy in prison; "One Special Gift," from Low's iconic 90s collection, is a complete slow-motion homage to that band; and "Once Upon a Christmas" has an ethereal intro before moving into a rock style not quite in the mold of its author, Dolly Parton. On to the originals: the title song is a nice midtempo rocker that sets the scene, "Big Man Under the Tree" pokes gentle fun at old Kris Kringle as he gets into the liquor cabinet and fiddles with Mom's panty hose, "This Silent Night" compares holiday dreams to reality and finds reality lacking, "Christmas One More Time" is a "Bobby McGee"-styled duet about screwing up the gumption to celebrate one more holiday, "Santa's Last Stop" is a kind of "last call" ballad for the holiday, and "Happiest New Year" closes things out with a string band symphony and one arm around a lover. It's a fairly mellow collection, but it has its moments.
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