The Best Christmas Music of 2020; All the Scoop On New Holiday Treats from The Bird and the Bee, Karla Bonoff, Terri Clark, the Goo Goo Dolls, Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Chrissi Poland, Straight No Chaser, Meghan Trainor, Carrie Underwood and Much, Much More

Photo courtesy of the artist  As strange as 2020 was for the music business, that didn't seem to carry over to the holiday releases. Oh, there are probably exceptions to that, but by and large Christmas albums came out sounding pretty much like what we might expect.  In the description below, I will once again not harp on songs that aren't really Christmas songs like Joni Mitchell's "River," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and the like. I do really love those songs in their normal non-holiday context. I'm even starting to get used to hearing "My Favorite Things" as a Christmas song. It's easy to say that this year because two of those songs are absent from this year's crop, and the version of "River" that's on the Karla Bonoff album is so good that I am compelled to love it in spite of its inclusion.  The 2020 holidays are already weird in the sense that we will not be with most of our family and friends due to the c

Chrissi Poland - Happy Christmas; Five of Your Favorite Christmas Songs Made Truly Special On New EP

  Photo Courtesy of Artist On Happy Christmas , Chrissi Poland delivers a five track EP that she calls "stripped down and chill." She is totally talking my language there, especially when it comes to Christmas music. These piano-based covers could not have been more well chosen if I had selected them myself. In my Christmas articles in recent years, I invariably get to the part where I bitch about songs that are not really Christmas songs (songs like Joni Mitchell's "River" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"). That said, I usually find some solace in the fact that two deserving songs are being covered more and more and are becoming modern standards. Poland opens the EP with those two songs.  Track one is "This Christmas," a song that Donny Hathaway wrote, recorded, and released in 1970. December 9, 2020 represents the fiftieth anniversary of the original release. Hathaway is an artist whose life was tragically cut short in 1979. To say that

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time OutTakes; One of the Greatest Jazz Albums Of All Time Is About To Get a Little Greater

T he  Dave   Brubeck  Quartet, courtesy of the  Brubeck  family. Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, one of the most beloved jazz albums ever made and also one of the most important, is the subject of the inaugural release of a new label called Brubeck Editions. In honor of the centennial celebration of Dave Brubeck's birth, Brubeck Editions will release something very exciting on December 4, 2020. Having recently discovered master tapes from the recording sessions that produced the Time Out LP, the new album Time OutTakes mirrors the original album yet it offers a different take on each song. Listening to these different versions of such familiar and iconic fare is positively revelatory. It's almost like a concert in which they play the album in track order, but each song is played a little differently. Many thanks to the Brubeck family for making this recording possible.  I was fortunate enough to see Brubeck in live performance several times. He was always pushing the mu