Season’s Greetings From moe. – moe.
Fatboy Records 6638
Somehow it seems fitting that I get to write my first-ever Christmas review
In recent years, I've found it a tad depressing that two guilty-pleasure
classic rock bands (Chicago and America) chose to release Christmas records.
Granted, both of them went down the tubes a while ago, but something about
that gesture seemed to confirm that they were shooting for the Anne Murray
or Carpenters demographic. However, last month I got stuck on a one day job
stuffing envelopes while an easy listening radio station played X-mas music
all day, and a revelation hit me: with all of that demand for Christmas
music, these records meant guaranteed exposure for the bands. Besides, they
sounded like they were enjoying themselves, more than on their other
would-be singles of late. For singers and arrangers, there might be
something gratifying about taking on these hoary chestnuts.
Now comes moe. with the first jamband Christmas album. There's not a
cynical note on the CD, and only a few quirky ones (most notably Al
Schnier's Moog percolating alongside Chuck Garvey's slide on "Silent
Night"). No extended jams, either, but their good cheer comes through.
They may be misfits, as they sing in one cover, but they come off as nice
guys. The two originals – Rob Derhak's "Together at Christmas" and
Schnier's "Home" – are all snowbound sweetness. (Bonus points to Rob for a
spot-on detail: "I got off work early to make the pilgrimage back home.")
Perhaps a few cuts might show up on next year's easy listening broadcasts —
top candidates include "Jingle Bells", with each vocalist and guitarist
taking a turn, and "Carol of the Bells", with a mild prog flavor. (Speaking
of classic rock faves, perhaps Jethro Tull might try a holiday outing before
they hang it up…)