Saturday, December 06, 2014

A Dirty Gems Christmas!

Every year around this time, there are certain Christmas songs that I just have to hear. It's not really Christmas if I don't hear Frank Sinatra's take on "Let It Snow" or Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". My Christmas is never fully merry without Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" or The Yobs' naughty "12 Days Of Christmas". My holiday playlist is a sacred thing and has remained unchanged for decades. Well, actually I should say had remained unchanged. Because this year I've made two additions! One is "I Feel Fine (It's Christmas Time)" by The Connection - an absolute instant classic in my opinion. And the other is the equally good "Can't Spend Another Christmas (Without You)" by Kris Rodgers & The Dirty Gems. Both of these songs have been fixtures of my seasonal celebrations this year - and will continue to be for many years to come. Readers of this blog may recall my glowing post on Rodgers' excellent new album Headlines. And like his good pals The Connection, he's delivered a holiday-themed release that's as strong as any title in his catalog!

"Can't Spend Another Christmas (Without You)", a Rodgers original, kicks off a three-song EP called A Dirty Gems Christmas. This song combines two of the most timeless themes in the history of popular music: Christmas and unrequited love. It's a vintage Rodgers tune - mixing the rockin' side of Elton John/Billy Joel with a touch of Joe Jackson power pop. This is actually the perfect Christmas song for people who hate Christmas music - because it's a powerful ode to what it's like to be dying inside while the rest of the world is celebrating. Rodgers sings with such fire and soul that you can't help getting wrapped up in the emotion of the song. Featuring glistening production and lyrics that so many people will relate to, this tune has "monster radio hit" written all over it. It's one of my favorite songs of this year, period. And for those of you who do enjoy Christmas music, Rodgers and his bandmates have also treated you to a couple of nifty covers. They do an incredible version of "What Christmas Means To Me" off of Stevie Wonder's 1967 Christmas album. And while it would have been an obvious choice for Rodgers to tackle Elton John's 1973 smash single "Step Into Christmas", he goes outside the box and covers the B-side instead - the delightful "Ho Ho Ho (Who'd Be A Turkey On Christmas)".

Depending on your point of view, A Dirty Gems Christmas could either make your holidays more bearable or enhance your Yuletide joy. In keeping with the gifting spirit of the season, Rodgers has made the EP available as a name-your-price download over at his Bandcamp page. Check it out - and be sure to get hip to Headlines if you aren't already!


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