100 episodes

”The Twelve Songs of Christmas” tries to sort out the place of Christmas music in our culture by talking to the people who make it.

Twelve Songs of Christmas Alex Rawls

    • Arts
    • 4.2 • 14 Ratings

”The Twelve Songs of Christmas” tries to sort out the place of Christmas music in our culture by talking to the people who make it.

    Season Seven Starts Soon

    Season Seven Starts Soon

    Last Christmas, I promised that 12 Songs would return with Christmas in July 2024. Since July 25 falls on a Thursday, it seemed like an appropriate day to return with the first episode of the new season. Here are a few notes on the upcoming season including a song that hints at a direction we'll go in the first month. 

    • 3 min
    New Orleans Hip-Hop for Christmas with Raj Smoove and 504icygrl

    New Orleans Hip-Hop for Christmas with Raj Smoove and 504icygrl

    Season six of 12 Songs comes to a close with some of the highlights from the 2023 holiday season and a conversation with DJ/producer/business guy Raj Smoove and rapper/producer 504icygrl about the new Christmas in New Orleans EP. Raj and Icy talk about Christmas, community, business, and the historically awkward fit between hip-hop and Christmas music. 
    In the episode, I mention the Daily Beast story I wrote on Cher's Christmas and Christmas music in October, the streaming version of my Christmas playlist, Bill Adler's Xmas Jollies 2023 and Jim Goodwin of ChristmasUnderground.com's I'm an Igloo playlist.
    If you haven't already done so, please subscribe, follow, or do whatever you have to do to get Twelve Songs in your podcast feed. That way, you'll know when we return in time for Christmas in July. 

    • 40 min
    Mother Mother ”Cry Christmas”

    Mother Mother ”Cry Christmas”

    Today's show is a lot about the backstage of the music business  as the Vancouver-based alternative rock band Mother Mother talks about finding a darker angle on Christmas music with "Cry Christmas" and their version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
    This week Ryan Guldemond of the band and I talk about how a rock band finds a way to do Christmas music in a way that's authentic, as well as why a band like Mother Mother would even do one in the first place.
    In this episode, I also talk about new Christmas releases by Sara Noelle, My Morning Jacket, and music writer Kevin McGrath, who compiled Have Yourself a Merry Indie Christmas Vol. 3 in time for this season. If you like their music, you can go back and hear my interview with Sara from earlier this season and Kevin from last season. 
    I also mentioned in the show that listeners can still request my free playlist by writing me at alex@myspiltmilk.com. You can also hear my "Twelve Songs of Christmas Christmas" mix on Apple Music and Spotify. 

    • 35 min
    Christmas Down Under with Imogen Clark

    Christmas Down Under with Imogen Clark

    This holiday season, Imogen Clark released "Not Christmas Here," talking about how all the wintery signs that Christmas is coming don't mean as much to her because she's from Australia. In the Southern Hemisphere, it's hot in December and white wine is their egg nog. 
    The song is a bit of looking ahead for Clark because she’s moving to the States next year. It’s also her fourth Christmas song, so we spoke recently about them, Christmas in Australia, and Australian Christmas favorites. 
    In the episode, I mention "A Twelve Songs of Christmas Christmas," a five-hour streaming playlist on Apple Music and Spotify that, if shuffled, will give you the effect of an all-Christmas music radio station minus the songs you've heard to death. 
    I also mentioned the 2023 Twelve Songs mix, which you can get free if you email me at alex@myspiltmilk.com to request it. It is a shorter, programmed mix, and it includes some songs that aren't on any of the streaming services including some great indie and Japanese Christmas songs. 

    • 43 min
    ”Holly Happy Days” with The Indigo Girls

    ”Holly Happy Days” with The Indigo Girls

    This episode has been a few years in the making, but I was finally able to find a quiet moment in the busy lives of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of The Indigo Girls. 
    In 2010, they released Holly Happy Days, a holiday album that's very much an Indigo Girls album with their musical, personal, social and spiritual values shaping the songs in the way that they do on everything else the duo has released. 
    We had a good conversation not only about the album but how it fits into the long arc of their career--25 years when it was released.
    Along the way, we get a little electronic bacon crackling while Amy is talking. I got it figured out fairly quickly, but there was no good edit point unless I dumped that section of the conversation, and I thought what she said was worth a few moments of crackle. 
    In the episode, I mention that this year's Christmas music mix is available. Send me a request at alex@myspiltmilk.com. 
    In the episode, I also mentioned an interview I did with Amy Ray for MySpiltMilk.com and my 12 Songs interview with Terre Roche.

    • 46 min
    ”A Dave Brubeck Christmas” with Matt Lemmler

    ”A Dave Brubeck Christmas” with Matt Lemmler

    Unfortunately, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck is no longer around to talk about his 1996 solo piano album A Dave Brubeck Christmas. Craft Recordings reissued the album this Christmas season, but Brubeck died in 2012 so I asked New Orleans piano player Matt Lemmler to help me get a handle on the album.
    The resulting conversation is a deep dive into Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, and jazz piano. We talk about his most famous song, "Take Five," and detour to talk about A Charlie Brown Christmas because it really is that seminal a recording. Lemmler also helps us understand stride piano, a style Brubeck explores on his Christmas album.
    One quick note: This is the rare episode of the podcast recorded me and my interview subject in the same room. That created a few audio complications, most of which I dealt with but there may be a few I couldn't catch. Thanks in advance for your patience, and I know how to prevent them in the future. 
    You can find A Dave Brubeck Christmas wherever you buy or stream music, and you can find Matt and his music at MattLemmler.com.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

NJRocker ,

Wonderful Holiday Music Podcast

This podcast, which is clearly a labor of love, features a highly eclectic look at all kinds of Christmas music. The interviews are very well done with a wide array of guests who have connections with Christmas music. If you’re a Christmas music fan, well worth a listen.

captusnesq ,

Too much talking to hear their own voice.

Where’s the music?

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