The year is nearly over but and it is the season to look back on the past 12 months with disdain and disappointment, feel sorrow for what could have been and desperation for what was. But it is tougher this year.
As years go, 2012 was not the worst. The world didn’t end, the economies of Europe didn’t totally collapse, Americans didn’t make the worst decision when they voted, nuclear power stations weren’t hit by earthquake & tsunami, and there are (just may be) slightly fewer wars than last year.
The pageantry of the Olympics and Jubilee really did lift the country (and hopefully the world). For those that care we even have a future royal birth on the horizon.
Musically the year was pretty good. There perhaps weren’t the standout albums that 2011 gave us, but there were a great number that would rank as very good. (The Ironbath promises to tell you his favourites in the near future.) However, live music was unsurpassed with Cayamo 2012 markedly the best boat ride ever, Cambridge Folk Festival had one of the best line ups in its 48 year history. The Ironbath visited the Shrewsbury Folk Festival vicariously through its wonderful live streaming, And there were about 20 other live gigs that the Ironbath attended over the year. (The Ironbath also promises to tell you which ones he enjoyed most).
The Ironbath also had a wonderful visit to Houston – where he got to tread on the infamous red brick floor of Anderson Fair and visited the nearest to a Texas Roadhouse that exists within the metropolitan district; And then on to Austin where the Continental Club became his home and he lost his heart to Elena James before it was torn apart by The Whiskey Sisters.
Still there is a tortuous quantum of pain around us this year. More people are suffering in ways that are unimaginable. despicable atrocities occurred on every continent, and in nearly every country. Human and natural disasters stole the lives or livelihoods of ordinary people around the world. For the terrorized this horror has become their normal.
It has been a good year for the Ironbath but still he ends the year financially and emotionally poorer than when he started it.
The future is like snow. It’s innocence is quickly blemished and the only future that snow ever has is to turn in to slush, and whatever it is that you think you have will just disappear in to the drain.
This is the fifth year that the Ironbath has made an anti-Christmas compilation. It is Christmas from the perspective of the people who are on the wrong side of the window that looks in on the fun and frivolities that other people associate with this season. It is pure yuletide melancholy.
There are several rules that are observed in this and every anti-christmas compilation. The most important being that it must feature a recording of the ultimate anti-Christmas song: Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’, and this year’s inclusion is probably the best that there has ever been.
Aside from the rules there are no rules. There are traditional songs alongside new songs. This year there is a version of The Pretenders’ Christmas classic, ‘2000 miles’. It is hard to imagine that 4 previous compilations have gone by with that song. It is also the first year that features a recording of ‘Silent Night’ – Well, actually, there are 4 different interpretations.
Another highlight is Reid Jamieson’s …the Ironbath hadn’t heard of him either… excellent cover of Tori Amos’ ‘Winter’ that was found via Cover Lay Down. Calexico take a song that is attributed to King Henry VIII and make it sound like a thoroughly modern song.
Often the Ironbath’s compilations mirror the excellent Fuel/Friends Christmas Mix. To such an extent that the Ironbath tries not to look at Heather’s picks. This year both featured Joshua Hyslops’ ‘Winter’s Night’, and once he’d heard the Prairie Empire’s take on ‘Silent Night’ the Ironbath had to find space for that as well.
Songs are taken from whatever source is available. There are well-known names, and names you’ve never heard of. There are tracks from iTunes, tracks taken from the radio and tracks found in the nether-regions of the internet. The Ironbath is contradicted about publishing other people’s music on the internet but does so under the anticipation that if you like any of these songs you’ll support these artists, or other similar artists in the coming year.
1 Silent Night – Matt Coleman
2 Christmas Time Is Here – Emily Barker
3 2000 Miles – Catie Curtis
4 Green Grows The Holly – Calexico
5 Future Like Snow – Trent Dabbs Ft. Lori McKenna
6 I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day – The Civil Wars
7 Winter – Reid Jamieson
8 Silent Night – Christmas Piano Masters
9 Silent Night – Katie Herzig
10 Christmas Moon – Brooke Waggoner
11 River – Tracey Thorn
12 Freezing – Nick Lowe
13 I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Doris Day
14 You Never Come Home for Christmas – Caitlin Rose & Keegan Dewitt
15 Snow, Snow & Mistletoe – Shelley Adams
16 Walking In The Air – Megan Henwood
17 Winter Wonderland – The Rainbow Collections
18 Like A Snowman – Tracey Thorn
19 The Day After Christmas – Kate Miller-Heidke
20 Winter’s Night – Joshua Hyslop
21 Winter Lights – Saints Of Valory
22 Silent Night – Prairie Empire
You can download a zip of all the songs & artwork HERE, and if you need an extra dose of yuletide melancholy you can listen to last year’s Anti-Christmas compilation, ‘Please Don’t Chop Another Christmas Tree’.