First posted on Mark Is Cranky:
It's about that time.
The tree is up (though in our case, the tree is coming down, to be replaced by another...first time ever I've had a sick tree. Freshly cut 'n everything!), the presents are wrapped (if I close my eyes and wish real hard, that's sorta true), the dinners are planned (oops, might need one more round of shopping for that) and the Christmas cards have been mailed (OK, I don't want to talk about it).
What I'm really looking forward to is just some down time with family. With that spirit in mind, let's talk about the obvious.
A Cheap Trick concert.
Yes, my yearly holiday music CD came to me by way of a Cheap Trick show I attended during the early 1990's. I've written about it before, but the concert is infused with just so much memory juice. The opening act for the show was an unknown New England-area band called Knots and Crosses. Fronted by singer Carol Noonan, they knocked us out. You know how warmup bands are often booed, sneered at or outright ignored? Not this time. The combination of the band's jangly rock and Noonan's incredible, trilling voice just blew us away. They ended with an acapella version of "Gimme Shelter". It was one of those things where you stand there and, for a moment, forget who you are. After I was done clapping and yelling my brains out, I wiped the drool from my chin and dashed over to the music concession and nabbed a copy of their CD.
Knots and Crosses broke up but Carol Noonan has gone on to make several solo records. She and husband Jeff are also attempting to put a stamp on their local (western Maine) arts world by converting their barn to a performing arts center. Quite an undertaking and also a heartfelt effort at community involvement.
Noonan's latest release, a collection of Christmas recordings, reminds me of what attracted me to her voice in the first place. I might get tired of hearing this music by the end of the season, but Noonan's phenomenal version of "O Holy Night" will never wear out its welcome. Not to these ears. There are a few original tunes on this collection as well, my favorite being "Christmas of '64", about Carol's first guitar (Yes, I remember my first guitar too).
So here I sit on my couch, coffee to my right, world's best cocker spaniel to my left, view of the local church steeple (all white, roman numeral clock, snow on roof) through the window straight ahead. It's time for a little more coffee and a little more music. Yep, it's about that time.
Merry Christmas everybody.