DISClaimer: Indie Artists Offer Sterling Holiday Tunes

Maiden Dixie

Maiden Dixie

The indie acts are sending holiday wishes today.

There was, in fact, a bumper crop of seasonal singles by indies this year. In addition to these 10, Eric Durrance, J. Michael Harter, Troy Johnson, The Sarah Dunn Band, Emily Vance, Stephanie Thompson, C.J. Garton, Allie Louise and more put out Christmas singles this year.

Of those in today’s column, Maiden Dixie wins a DisCovery Award. The band is base in Minneapolis, and I’d sure like to hear more from it.

There were several new novelty tunes in this stack of platters, such as “Motorcyle Santa,” “Cowboy for Christmas” and our Disc of the Day winner, “That Better Be Santa Claus” by a witty cowboy named Greg Sterling.

SARABETH/Cowboy For Christmas
Writers: Sarabeth Swagerty/Glen Mitchell/Tim Morgan; Producer: Glen Mitchell; Publishers: Delta Pearl/Mathis Mountain/Ameribrit, BMI/ASCAP; Circle S (CDX)
– It’s a western swinger, with loads of fiddle and steel. A cool, yule toe tapper.

TEEA GOANS/Christmas Time Is Here
Writers: Vince Guaraldi/Lee Mendelson; Producer: Terry Choate; Publisher: Lee Mendelson Film, BMI; Crosswind (CDX)
-One of our finest traditional country singers shows off her jazz chops on this dreamy ballad. Soothing and swaying.

HALEY & MICHAELS/The Very Merry Little Christmas Medley
Writers: none listed; Producers: Haley & Michaels/Brad Hill; Publishers: none listed; H&M (CDX)
-This male-female duet scampers over eight standards in less than three minutes. For the listener with attention-deficit disorder.

STEPHANIE RABUS/That Red Nosed Reindeer
Writers: Justin Peters/Steven Rupe; Producer: Justin Peters; Publishers: Justin Peters/ABET, BMI; Platinum Planet
-She sings well, but the song is too wordy.

LEE ANNA McGUIRE/You and Me and the Christmas Tree
Writers: Constance/Lee Anna McGuire/Justin Peters; Producer: Justin Peters; Publishers: ABET/Platinum Planet/Justin Peters/Songs For The Planet, BMI; Platinum Planet
-Young sounding, with sprinkles on top.

THE NICKEL SLOTS/A Shot and a Beer for Christmas
Writer: Tony Bruska; Producer: The Nickel Slots; Publishers: Highway 113, ASCAP; Nickel Slots (CDX)
-This is a rockabilly romp with a bellowing vocal and a roaring track. Get up and jitterbug.

SKYLAR ELISE/Motorcycle Santa
Writers: Skylar Elise/Erik Halbig; Producer: Krik Halbig; Publishers: none listed, BMI; Lexi Dale (CDX)
-Rollicking contemporary country with a slammin’ beat and a offbeat lyric. Listenable.

MAIDEN DIXIE/O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Writers: traditional; Producer: Makoa Johnson; Publisher: public domain; Navigator (CDX)
-Nicely done. The ooomphy, echoey track surrounds the performance with drama. The male and female voices are equally strong and compelling on this imaginatively arranged standard. Send more.


Greg Sterling

GREG STERLING/That Better Be Santa Claus
Writers: Chick Rains; Producer: Brandon Epps & Sam Martin; Publishers: Sony ATV Tree, BMI; Greg Sterling Music
-He surprises his wife by coming home early on Christmas eve in this irresistible tempo tune. She’s in a negligee he’s never seen before, and there’s a strange noise coming from the backyard. Very country. Very hilarious. Absolutely play it.

RUSTY RIERSON/The Reason for the Season
Writer: Nolan Kroeker; Producer: Rusty Rierson & Carter Green; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Record Ranch
-He doesn’t have much of a voice, and the track plods.


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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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