Holiday Sampler, December 30


I could write PAGES about the brilliant musical, Rent, but for the purpose of this entry, all you need to know is that the story largely takes place between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  And because of that, it’s the perfect musical to listen to (or watch, since the final Broadway show was filmed and released, and they made a film version of the musical in 2005) in that span of time between Christmas and New Year’s where you still want to celebrate but are tired of the Bing Crosby.  If you don’t know the musical, please check it out, along with the story of its creator and creation.  Trust me.

December 30: Cast of Rent, “Happy New Year A / B”


Holiday Sampler, December 28


If you haven’t seen the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” you’re missing out.  It’s hilarious, it’s filled with Broadway-esque tunes, and it’s insanely addictive.  I can often be found singing or humming the songs from the show as I go about my day.

But did you know that the show’s creator and star, Rachel Bloom, also produced an album of Hanukkah comedy songs?  They’re a bit racy and explicit, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, you might want to skip it, but if you don’t mind a humorous take on Jewish culture, give it a whirl.  Trust me — you’ll be humming these tunes for weeks.

December 28: Rachel Bloom, Jack Dolgen, Dan Gregor, “Chanukah Honey”

Holiday Sampler, December 26


I can’t believe it’s been six years since The Maccabeats released their Hanukkah song, “Candlelight.”  I loved this group the instant I heard them.  I’m a sucker for a cappella to begin with, but these guys take it to another level with their humor and talent.  And so, on this third night of Hanukkah, let’s celebrate with a little throwback to their 2010 classic.

December 26: The Maccabeats, “Candlelight”

Holiday Sampler, December 25


Even though neither have ever put out a Christmas album, I always associate the holidays with Sarah Harmer and Luther Wright because I love to attend the annual Holiday Rock Show they put on in Kingston, Ontario to benefit a variety of local charities. It’s always a festive good time and a great way to kick off the holidays.

And to kick off this Christmas day, I’m sharing Sarah and Luther’s lovely cover of “White Christmas.”  Best wishes to all my readers who celebrate; may the day bring you warmth and joy.

December 25: Sarah Harmer and Luther Wright, “White Christmas”

Holiday Sampler, December 24


I’m not sure this song warrants much explanation.  It’s the Carpenters, it’s gorgeous (if a little sad), and, in my opinion, it’s pretty much the definitive Christmas Eve tune.

Merry Christmas Eve to all my readers who celebrate!

December 24: The Carpenters, “Merry Christmas, Darling”

Holiday Sampler, December 23


Tomorrow at sundown is the start of Hanukkah.  We’ll be frying up some latkes, and  playing dreidel (with our cats) by the light of the electric menorah (cats are a danger around real candles; we once had a cat burn fur off her tail by whipping it through a flame). You don’t hear much Hanukkah music played on the radio, except for the classic songs that everyone knows.  Even then, it’s just two songs out of thousands and thousands of Christmas tunes.  So a few years ago, I hit up the Hanukkah station on Pandora and discovered the band The LeeVees.  These guys are like Jewish Barenaked Ladies.  Jewish Arrogant Worms (if you don’t know the Arrogant Worms, educate yo’ self).  I immediately bought their album of hilarious Hanukkah songs.  My favorite jam off that album is the one featured below.  Enjoy!

December 23: The LeeVees, “Latke Clan”

Holiday Sampler, December 22


If you know me, you know I love The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie.  I couldn’t really let the holidays pass by without posting something Hip-related, eh?  There is a great live recording out there of the Hip doing a kind of mash-up of “White Christmas” & “On The Verge,” but then I happened across Gord Downie’s “Christmastime in Toronto,” and well, that one seemed perfect.

It’s fitting, too, that I’m spending today in Kingston, Ontario — home of the Hip, and my favorite place in the world.

December 22: Gord Downie, “Christmastime in Toronto”

Holiday Sampler, December 21


Christmas is almost here.  Can you believe it?  And Hanukkah’s right around the corner too.  We’ve had our office holiday parties, we’re on vacation starting tomorrow, and we’re about to go celebrate the holidays with some incredibly awesome musicians.  It’s getting downright festive this afternoon.  And so…

December 21: Paul McCartney, “Wonderful Christmastime”