SOTA is a production company
from Georgia, or "music collective" as the popular phrase currently goes, and they promote, produce and even make their own rock-Americana flavored music alongside a small roster of artists. For 2014 they decided to try their hand at Christmas music, and they've put together a nice collection of music featuring their own roster along with a few guests from outside. Things kick off promisingly with a fine uptempo arrangement of "Silent Night" from Marshall Ruffin, a song that too often gets the reverent, or worse, the diva approach. The Shadowboxers acquit themselves well on "Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday," Alex Gordon Hi Fi offers a guitar/bass instrumental rendition of "Deck the Halls," then they back Marshall Ruffin on "Angels We Have Heard on High." Indianapolis Jones offers a fine uptempo original by Galavanters' bass player Nicholas Niespodziani called "Peace and Harmony," and then that band comes back with their own organ-led instrumental take on "Jolly Old St. Nicholas." Big Mike Geier gets help from Larkin Poe on "Christmas Island," Trs Lechers perform a jazzy xylophone-led "Joy to the World" and Michelle Malone, who has a past Christmas album to her credit, performs the original "Feels Like Christmas." Stephen Kellogg, with help from the Galavanters, performs his syncopated original "Christmas in Cancun," the Handlebars render Ellis Paul's "Santa Claus & the Tooth Fairy," in which a mild Bo Diddley rhythm meets a child-sung chorus, Tim Smith takes on NRBQ's "Chrismas Wish," and Mike Snowden breaks out the cigar box guitar and accordion for a suitably rocking exit to the disc with "Auld Lang Syne." The producers imply in their liner notes that this may become a tradition, and that's all right with me.