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Love the Holidays

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Old 97's 11/16/2018

Review

Nearly a quarter century after they released their first album, Old 97's have covered a lot of ground in the course of their career, but they've finally crossed one bit of unfinished business off their bucket list by releasing a Christmas album. Released in November 2018, Love the Holidays leans a bit to the pop side of this band's sound, as if they struck a midpoint between their classic attack on Too Far to Care and the more artful approach of Rhett Miller's solo work. "Snow Angels," "Wintertime in the City," and "Here It Is Christmastime" are rather contemplative by the band's standards, and Miller's lyrics often have as much to do with broken hearts as Santa and the holiday season. But the chatter and growl of Ken Bethea's guitar are more than enough to brand this as Old 97's, and bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples aren't afraid to put some muscle behind tunes like "Gotta Love Being a Kid (Merry Christmas)" and the title track. "Hobo Christmas Song" should please those who want a bit more twang in their mix. The more rollicking numbers also have a strong undercurrent of humor, and if "Rudolph Was Blue" (about a certain reindeer looking for his true love) is awfully goofy, it's also fun and kids will doubtless love it. And while Yuletide albums are often a bit lazy, mostly dealing in the same familiar melodies, the band wrote nine original numbers for Love the Holidays, and if they're not all classics, they give the album a sound and a voice of its own. (The vinyl edition includes one cover, "Auld Lang Syne," while another four -- "Angels We Have Heard on High," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Up on the Housetop," and "Blue Christmas" -- close out the CD and digital releases.) Alt-country fans throwing a Christmas party will find Love the Holidays every bit as welcome as a big batch of spiked eggnog. ~ Mark Deming
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Love the Holidays Old 97's 3:33
  3. 2 I Believe in Santa Claus Old 97's 3:37
  4. 3 Gotta Love Being a Kid (Merry Christmas) Old 97's 2:4
  5. 4 Snow Angels Old 97's 4:53
  6. 5 Christmas Is Coming Old 97's 3:38
  7. 6 Wintertime in the City Old 97's 2:47
  8. 7 Rudolph Was Blue Old 97's 3:18
  9. 8 Here It Is Christmastime Old 97's 3:8
  10. 9 Hobo Christmas Song Old 97's 3:12
  11. 10 Auld Lang Syne Old 97's 4:9
  12. 11 Angels We Have Heard on High Old 97's 3:13
  13. 12 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Old 97's 2:54
  14. 13 Up on the Housetop Old 97's 2:30
  15. 14 Blue Christmas Old 97's 2:45

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