So what’s a nice British girl doing playing American rockabilly in California?
Karling Abbeygate is a fixture on the California music scene with her brand of American roots music, which in this case is rockabilly, western swing, and a little straight country thrown in for good measure. Both as a solo artist and with a band, she has released several albums that reflect her brand of fun-filled and energetic music.
She has now returned with her first holiday album, Christmas With Karling. It is somewhat of a departure for her musically. It is also a different kind of Christmas release as she brings her unique and sometimes wacky style to the solemnity of the season and shakes it up a bit.
She is a very competent songwriter and here she combines six original tunes with five traditional Christmas songs. While songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “The First Noel,” “Deck The Halls,” “Silent Night,” and “Auld Lang Syne” are presented from her unique perspective, it is the original material that makes the album shine brightly.
“Santa’s Got A Crush One Me” is the highlight of the album. It is a piece that combines sassiness, innocence, and a surprise. “What’s In The Box” is a humorous take on the season. She returns to her rockabilly roots with the high energy “Christmas Party,” while “Honey’s Coming Home For Christmas” moves in a western swing direction. Finally “Tra La La La La” looks at the season from a childlike view point. The only track that departs from her buoyant celebration of the holidays is “Angel Tears,” which is a melancholy country ballad and serves as a nice counterpoint to the music around it.
The album has a raw and energetic feel due to the fact it was recorded live over the course of three days. Karling has a competent band behind her consisting of guitarist Bob Gother, keyboardist Jason Eoff, upright bassist Russell Scott, drummer Johnny Palmer, and additional vocalist Manny Gonzalez. One final note is the profits from the album will be donated to the charity Save-A-Life Cat and Dog Adoptions, which is admirable.
Christmas With Karling takes a different approach to the season. It all ends well as she may approach Christmas from a different perspective, but it’s always entertaining, which is the point.