Thursday, December 23, 2010

Music of the season in Music City

Still strong in my memory is my introduction to the concept of a radio station sending out exclusively Christmas or holiday music over the airwaves in December. It was station WENO - AM 760, right here in Nashville in 1990. A few months later WENO -- first Music City station to broadcast only Country Music (and not WSM!) -- introduced me to Southern Gospel Music. (Alas! like most AM stations it's fallen to the "talk radio" format.)

While I lived in San Antonio I looked forward every year to listening to Mix 96 (KXXM) airing Christmas music. And now that I'm back here in Nashville I've been greatly enjoying the cheerful holiday tunes, on Mix 92 (FM 92.9, WJXA) and on "The Fish" 94 FM. An interesting detail about the latter station is that it's contemporary Christian music, but the December playlist has been as much a mix of secular and sacred songs as the former station broadcasts.

So, well, I've heard several times such cherished classics of the season as "Joy to the World" by Mannheim Steamroller and "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO's hit has a fascinating story behind it, set in war-torn Sarajevo, and was on the playlist for "Holiday in the Park" in Fiesta Texas theme park (S.A.). The instrumentation and rhythm so affected yours truly that I came up with a sort of choreographed conducting set of movements, as tho' I were actually directing TSO. Probably I got plenty of weird looks from Fiesta Texas guests whenever I'd do this!

One other song I learned at Fiesta Texas that alas! I've only heard once (maybe twice) is Amy Grant's "Welcome to Our World". But on the other hand, "How Many Kings" serves a a nice substitute. And there's always Karen Carpenter sweetly singing "Merry Christmas Darling" or another song of the season.

A couple of "new" (to me) Christmas songs have blessed my listening ears. One is a duet medley by Bing Crosby and David Bowie titled "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth". Now THERE's a duo one wouldn't expect, dear reader, the old king of big-band crooners and a rock star! But it's a beautiful song! The other newby is "O Holy Night" recorded by Martina McBride. She sings the song BEAUTIFULLY!

Thru Yahoo I've accessed an on-line list of the top thirty holiday songs, culled by a Paul Green from a Nielson Soundscan list of 200 most popular.

Dear reader, enjoy the music of this season! And have a blessed time as the old year ends & the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven commences!

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