HERMISTON — I have a confession to make — I’ve already been jamming ahead with the Christmas spirit.
I’ve been “fa la la la la-ing” driving down the street in my Jeep since before Halloween. While many people wait until Thanksgiving to break out the holiday tunes, I usually start hitting play on Nov. 1. However, a week or so before the big candy grab, my husband popped a CD he found at Goodwill into my player — and the rest is holiday history.
“Songs of Christmas” is a collection of 10 instrumental carols played on acoustic guitar by Carl Tosten. The musician, who grew up in Eastern Washington, plays superbly on a DL Noble baritone guitar. While I don’t have fine-tuned ears for music, it seems to have a calming effect — much different than the screeching vocals and power chords of Twisted Sister.
And, although the ‘80s metal band loudly proclaims in one of their hit songs, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” — they did. The band released “A Twisted Christmas” in 2006, taking their piece of the pie in regards to Christmas music sales. However, I think Neil Diamond is the one who really cashed in over the years with a handful of Christmas albums.
In a 2016 interview with National Public Radio, Diamond said he was denied celebrating Christmas traditions while growing up Jewish. He called making Christmas albums “a joyful experience.” For me, listening to his rugged baritone-bass voice lifts my spirits.
Being married to Johnny Vinyl has many benefits — one of them is his interest in sharing his love for music. He has helped me amass quite the varied catalog of Christmas tunes — despite the fact that he loathes most traditional holiday music.
A decade ago, John ordered Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart.” We’re both big fans and I was excited. After listening to it several times, I told my husband that maybe traditional Christmas music wasn’t where it was at for Dylan. Designed as a joyous hymn, his version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” was more like a funeral march.
John was a bit incensed — yet I continued, “Do You Hear What I Hear.” No offense, but yes, Zimmy I do, and it sounds like you’re “Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.” I feel like I can say that because I take it literally where the Bible says “Make a joyful noise.”
The latest being added to my collection is “Season’s Greetings from moe.” It originally came out in 2002, but never before on vinyl — until now, as part of the Record Store Day Black Friday releases. It features old favorites, such as “Linus and Lucy,” an obscure gem with “We’re A Couple of Misfits,” and several original tunes, including “Together At Christmas” and “Home.” Referring to them as a jam band, Johnny Vinyl said, “It’s Christmas music I can endorse.”