As referenced in a song premiere from earlier this month ("Christmas This Year" by Aliza Carter Band), I made a rather platitudinous statement regarding "friends and family" during the Holiday Season. Was it banal? Yes. But was it wrong? No. And so, that sentiment still holds true with Now/It's' newest song premiere, "Christmas Jr." by dear friend of the program/site/blog/page, Parker Hodges.
Admittedly, I've been known to consider Christmas songs to be rather trite and overly saccharine, but Hodges' take on the Yuletide takes an inviting zig against the typical tinsel-y zag. From the onset of the song - "My neighbor got mad at my brother and me/For shooting squirrels in his yard on Christmas Eve" - Hodges paints a delightfully Norman Rockwell-esque scene of slightly absurdist memories of Christmas.
There are scenes of strip malls and liquor store signs, representing an inverse look at White Christmases filled with cheer and sheen. It's not necessarily the "worst version" of Christmas, instead, "Christmas Jr." depicts a realist's Christmas. Think of the occasional dread that washes over children with too much time on their hands, getting into trouble over something petty, or watching far too much tv during Winter Break. Ultimately, these scenes are dark or grimy, but rather, scenes that may elicit feelings of initial remorse but ultimate admiration as time passes. "Christmas Jr." presents the scenes of Christmas from an anthology lens, but in the grander scheme, the childhood memories lend themselves to the idea that Christmas turns into a prolonged nostalgia trip (which isn't always for the best) well into adulthood.
Parker Hodges is the nom-de-plume of Jonathan Williams, and he echoes the sentiments of occasional dread, and prolonged nostalgia during Christmas - I look forward to [Christmas], but I also dread it.....Everything about Christmas [other than the morning] seems normal. And then when Christmas is over, it ends so fast.... I just know at the end of every Christmas I'm ready to leave my parents' house and then I feel bad splitting and I wish Christmas could be what it was when I was younger or that the sentiments the holidays bring would last longer or seem more genuine." I think Williams hits the nail on the head, an anecdotal flourish that further complements a supremely good (and grounded) Christmas song.
"Christmas Jr." was recorded at The Smoakstack in Nashville, Tennessee by Brendan St. Gelias with Williams, Cody Carpenter, Stephen Day, Nick Johnston, and Dayton Swords playing on the tune.
So without further ado, enjoy "Christmas Jr."