Christmas. Turn off the lights and whisper the word. Instantly your heart soars as memories and fragrances pummel your senses. Visions of gifts, hopes for the future, a warm hug by the fire. Like this album, it is all these things and so much more. Fall 2005. Sperling and Meredith spend their Monday nights in The Deer Lodge watching Monday Night Football and grilling Buffalo Wings, which soon became Buffalo Legs (more meaty). After a few impromptu concerts at The Lodge, the Golden Boys decided to do what all great bands do when a venue has 'that vibe.' They moved thousands of dollars worth of equipment into the The Deer Lodge and hunkered down with guitar and pen (and sleeping bag). The bitter Northwest cold was offset by the creative fires that raged within each man's soul. The bitter hunger was offset by the ultra-flavorful Buffalo Legs, the sauce for which Ezra began tastefully augmenting with a lil' brown sugar. 'Let It Snow ' was recorded live at one of these semi-private shows and gives us a taste of the electric ambience that would jump-start the whole project. 'Home For The Holidays,' the titular track from last year's opus, returns again in rousing form. Never content to leave any turn of the imagination unstoned, the Heroes of Hosford give this family classic a glossy spit-shine. 'Revolution Now My Friends' is 100% pedal-to-the-metal rock and roll. Stand back! Can you say Southern-Fried Stones? This Ezra original reminds us that we often have to be bold and fearless in our Holiday Celebrations. 'Before My Eyes' encapsulates Bert's touching philosophy that even without the greedy and materialistic tradition of gift exchange we are rich in spiritual possessions. Compassion and togetherness are all we really need. That new twelve-pack of ribbed boxer-briefs is just icing on the cake of life. The mystical cycle of life dictates that the Season's spendid highs soon become dark and sunken lows. Like the shortened days of Winter, the dawn of youth is all too fleeting. The Twinkling Tenderhearts never let an album pass without soothing the emotional wounds of their listeners with a sonic balm that acknowledges the bittersweet sunset of old age and diminishing capabilities. With 'Little Red Bike,' the Saints of Southeast take listeners to a profoundly personal place and leave us calmed by their cathartic courage. Listen for Joel ' J.B.' Meredith chiming in on the pedal steel. 'Christmas in Iraq' is a reality for thousands of men and women who make the difficult and honorable choice to be in a hostile, dangerous and uncomfortable place far away from their loved ones. Sperling wields the Telecaster like an M-16 and empties clip after clip while Ezra's lyrical howitzer spits fire as the Daring Duo take zero prisoners. We hope this song finds our armed forces alive and proud this Christmas. Like our Citizens in the Sand, Ezra knows what it's like to be lonely and frustrated. He's played over 7,000 shows in his lifetime, often far from his home and for little more than free beer and a night on a sticky straw mat. 'Travelin' Man' offers us a glimpse of life on the rough road of musical semi-stardom. 'Soulstice' is one of Sperling's most moving melodies, a rousing cheer to citizens of every faith to set aside racial and religious differences and partake of libations and laughter Together as we celebrate the shortest day of the year. Ein, mbili, set . . . CHUG! Purists will take great joy in Bert's acoustic sorcery on the enchanting classic 'Greenweedz.' Pull a tube of Oregon's Finest and be swept into a land of mythical wonder as Sperling picks his way into the ranks of the classical guitar greats. For the traditional of heart, 'The Christmas Song' sports a spot of Dickensian theatricality while 'Winter Wonderland' is like no other version ever recorded in this galaxy. From our hearts to yours, a warm platter of love and a huge box of hope . . . let these songs be windows through which you will often gaze. See you next year!
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