There's holiday music everywhere you turn this time of year. While sometimes it might be nice to drown it all out with the occasional 20 minute "Dark Star" or "Tweezer"; we've recently discovered that it's also possible to combine the best of the jams with a little holiday cheer. So, The Barn is pleased to present its 2010 mix of jamband holiday tunes for your streaming and downloading pleasure (a burned CD makes a great cheap gift).
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Here's what you're listening to:
Over the course of a thirty year career, the Grateful Dead weren't much for acknowledging the spirit of the season, but a couple of times in 1971, they busted out Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph" with Pigpen proving a classic lead vocal performance. This version is from 12/4 at the Felt Forum.
Leftover Salmon takes on Robert Earl Keen's tale of a dysfunctional family enjoying the holidays together, "Merry Christmas From The Family". It is damn near impossible not to like a tune with lyrics like "Carve the Turkey / Turn the ball game on / It's margaritas when the eggnog's gone / Send somebody to the Quickpak Store /We need some ice and an extension chord /A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites /A box of Pampers, Marlboro Lights".
Recorded just last week at Warren Haynes' annual Christmas jam, Widespread Panic's John Bell sandwiches "Milk and Cookies", a Santa-fied take on Panic's "Ribs & Whiskey" between a delicate acoustic take of "Silent Night".
Eleven years earlier at the same event, a typically guest laden Gov't Mule, enlists Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Little Milton and Johnny Neel to help out on a stretched-out "Merry Christmas Baby".
Garcia and Grisman's take on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" works just like any other tune in their catalog: playful, jazzy and tonally pleasant. This version is from 12/8/91 at the Warfield.
My wife will emphatically convince anybody that My Morning Jacket is not a jamband, but they are certainly a favorite of many jamband fans and get honorary status for choosing to play a rare, but cool tune called "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" for a 2001 radio broadcast.
Tailor made for jambands, the holiday jazz of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" is interpreted by next generation jammers The McLovins.
We were saddened by the news that The Radiators will be calling it quits soon. Thankfully they didn't before cranking out this salty version of the traditional "Feliz Navidad" on 12/11/2004.
Another true jam, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones' sprawling "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" is chocked full of teases and quotes of a variety of holiday tunes. For the definitive versions, check out their holiday album.
We had to sneak this one in here. Recorded at The Barn's inaugural event last year, Mr. Blotto sandwiched a true partier's take on "Twelve Days Of Christmas" in a "Psycho Killer" sandwich.
The Leftover Salmon boys make another visit to the playlist, here helping out String Cheese Incident in a all-out pick fest on "Jingle Bells". This was the first encore of a 12/21/200 Colorado show.
Finally, after Christmas has come and gone, we are left with a true jamband holiday: New Year's Eve. This track has everything we love about early nineties Phish, nimbly and masterfully weaving "Auld Lang Syne" in and out of "Buried Alive" before the stroke of midnight, and then cranking out one final chorus of the New Year's classic to ring in 1992.
And if you like Phish, check out this video for Blues Traveler's Christmas tune, you may recognize a little piece in the middle.
Still not satisfied? More rocking holiday music: