TOM MASON – Under A Mistletoe Sky (Gas Station Music)

Under A Mistletoe SkyYes, it’s the first Christmas album review, Under A Mistletoe Sky taking a sleigh ride out of Nashville with ten brand new country yuletide tunes that get the seasonal bells ringing with the bluesy calypso groove of ‘Crazy For Christmas’ with its trombone and doo wop backing vocals. The title track imagines the Stones swaggering through rock ‘n’ roll carol territory with an intro touch of ‘Oh Holy Night’ while ‘All Covered In Snow’ is all tumbling country chords and saloon piano.

Who says Christmas songs can’t respond to social issues? Certainly not Mason who wrote ‘Christmas Boogaloo’ following the racial divisions in America this summer, marrying Afro-Cuban rumba to R&B in a cultural coming together while ‘Come On Mr Claus’ is a boogie woogie piano number that rather naturally leads into the huh huh a ho ho rock’n’roll of ‘Little Elvis, King Of The Elves’ that tells of a very special member of Santa’s little helpers that channels you know who. And is indeed followed by ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ itself with a definite touch of Texicana to its bubbling sway. Things get jazzy with the sasshaying Latin vibe of ‘Santa Says Keep It Cool’, making this undoubtedly the first Christmas album to have a song themed around climate change effects on Santa’s workshop.

The penultimate ‘Gift Wrapped Girl’ is another rock ‘n’ roll/rockabilly pumper that again tips the hat to Presley before the festivities come to a close with the easy rolling bluesy country shuffle ‘Christmas In Love’ featuring a slide guitar and guest vocals from Nashville star Fawn Lawson.

Getting in early before the annual gush of country celebs doing their syrupy seasonal specials, Under A Mistletoe Sky is an early bauble well worth hanging on your tree.

Mike Davies

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