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BGS Wraps: Patty Loveless, Darin & Brooke, Brei Carter, and More

Dec 15, 2023

BGS Wraps: Patty Loveless, Darin & Brooke, Brei Carter, and More

How is December already half over? Christmas is merely 10 days away – and in just over six days, Winter Solstice will bring the light back into our lives. We hope your home smells of evergreen and sugar cookies and that a seasonal roots music tune is wrapping you up in wintry coziness. If that isn’t the case, we can help with the rootsy seasonal tunes bit!

For our third week of BGS Wraps, we have celebratory bluegrass alongside loping country, introspective indie and gothic Tim Burton-esque tales, too. Plus, don’t miss Jeannie Seely as Grand Marshal of the Donelson Hermitage Christmas parade in Nashville tomorrow.

Whatever you’re celebrating this season, we’ve got the music, songs, albums, and events to pair with your peace and joy.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Hometown Holiday

One of bluegrass’s preeminent couples, Darin & Brooke’s new Christmas album, Hometown Holiday, feels like an afternoon visit in their living room, as they play down a few of their favorite seasonal numbers. The husband and wife duo are known for their covers of non-bluegrass songs, and several among this collection truly shine – like Joni Mitchell’s “River,” rendered beautifully by Brooke. You’ll hear country piano, a modern classic popularized by Amy Grant, “The Chipmunk Song,” and more, all packaged with a neat and tidy bluegrass bow.

Beth // James, Christmas at the Burchills

Friends of BGS will know this team loves a good tiki drink, so including this Beth // James original seemed essential for our holiday Wraps. “Tiki Christmas Land” is one of four originals – joined by a cover of “Blue Christmas” – on Beth // James’ new EP, Christmas at the Burchills. Make yourself a holiday mai tai or painkiller and enjoy your visit with Beth, James, and the Burchills.

Brei Carter, Twinkling Tales of Christmas

Your cheeks may be a bit rosier after listening to Brei Carter’s jazzy, pop country holiday collection, Twinkling Tales of Christmas – and not just because of the chill in the air! “50 Shades of Christmas” will certainly get you in a festive and adventurous mood, and “Santa Wontcha” is for all Christmas season fans who proudly extend the season well prior to Thanksgiving. But “Bow on You” and “Christmas Is You” are certainly the stand out tracks.

38th Annual Donelson Hermitage Christmas Parade December 16, with Grand Marshal Jeannie Seely

If you’re near to Music City USA, head out to Donelson tomorrow afternoon, December 16, to catch country legend Jeannie Seely as she Grand Marshals the 38th Annual Donelson Hermitage Christmas Parade. Seely is standing in for Brenda Lee, who ended up being unable to attend the event – and who better to step into Lee’s Christmas hit-singing shoes? Seely has been involved with the parade many a time before and this year is an especially perfect time for the Grand Ole Opry member to Marshal, as she just released a holiday single with the Flat River Band entitled “Christmas Time.”

Pat McGrath, “Let’s Just Get Past Christmas”

A smooth, swingin’ Christmas song from singer, songwriter, studio musician Pat McGrath that looks forward, willing the new year to come fast and wipe the slate clean. A great tune for anyone who feels the holidays are often bittersweet, with a heavy dose of love and putting one foot in front of the other, you can get past just about anything. Christmas included.

Drake Milligan, “Cowgirl for Christmas”

More Christmas songs need yodeling, right? Right. Drake Milligan’s “Cowgirl for Christmas” is a delight, from the sound stage music video set that feels direct from a ‘50s western to the catchy, yodeled hook, to the danceable, western swing beat. Not a brand new track or video, but one worth remembering each year when December rolls around for sure. You’ll be wishin’ for a cowgirl under your tree, too.

The Nields, “The Darkest Day”

A harmony rich neo-folk song from The Nields, “The Darkest Day” was released earlier this year on their brand new album, Circle of Days. To herald solstice, they’ve brought out a video to highlight the track and ask the titular question, “What do you want on the darkest day?” A timely reflection, as we welcome back the sun and look ahead to spring – however far away it may feel.

Malin Pettersen, “Santa”

Malin Pettersen’s first ever Christmas song is an entire vibe. With a classic R&B back beat and conversational tone with Americana touches, Pettersen lays out her wishes for the holiday – for her longing to end and for some light to brighten the holidays and dark January. Whomever you’re trying to manifest into or out of your life, Pettersen can offer a shortcut to writing your letter to the big man at the North Pole.

Hannah Rose Platt, “The Wendigo Rag”

Wendigos and skinwalkers, oh my! If your TikTok For You Page knows that you love a cryptid tale or the paranormal or other unexplained phenomenon, Hannah Rose Platt has made a wintry, stop motion, Tim Burton-esque video just for you. And if you’d like to continue your rootsy Wendigo songs playlist, we have another selection from back around Halloween by Thunder & Rain you’d enjoy, too.

Larry Sparks, “White Christmas”

Each Christmas we’re reminded of this amazing album by bluegrass legend Larry Sparks and especially of this four-chord version of a holiday classic, “White Christmas.” Only a picker like Sparks could pave over such an iconic chord progression without leaving the listener missing it – at all. “White Christmas” is a jam buster no more, anybody can play along. We put this album on every year around the holidays and are never disappointed.

Sofia Talvik, “Alone for Christmas”

Swedish folk and Americana singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik utilizes jazz touches and dramatic strings to paint a lonesome Christmas portrait that both relishes and abhors the season. Playing around within that paradox – how can lonely holidays feel so bereft of Christmas spirit, while also epitomizing so many of the feelings of the season? The repetition in the song (“Alone for Christmas… Again. Again.”) underlines how being “Alone for Christmas” really isn’t as uncommon or unfamiliar as any of us would hope it is.

The Wildwoods, “Somewhere in the Snow”

Nebraska-based folk trio The Wildwoods offer their first-ever holiday song, “Somewhere in the Snow,” replete with a Peanuts-style animated video. It’s gauzy and sweet with a burnished patina and tone of redemption. Whether you love or hate the snow, it certainly seems like a perfect place to bury your troubles and fears.

Our Classic Holiday Album Recommendation of the Week:
Patty Loveless, Bluegrass & White Snow, A Mountain Christmas

Patty Loveless’s bluegrass bona fides are unassailable, it’s true, but this album might clinch her claims to the genre, if ever challenged by a naysayer or proverbial chair snapper. Bluegrass & White Snow is a perfect combination of classic, sing-along carols and bluegrass staples, plus a couple of bespoke beauties, too, sung as only Patty could sing them. With a big, belty voice that carries with it some of that signature high lonesome grit. Dr. Ralph would be proud. (And he was.)

Photo Credit: Darin & Brooke Aldridge by Kim Brantley; Brei Carter courtesy of the artist; Drake Milligan courtesy of the artist.

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BGS Wraps: Patty Loveless, Darin & Brooke, Brei Carter, and More
BGS Wraps: Patty Loveless, Darin & Brooke, Brei Carter, and More