Do you want to hear what I hear?

Tour diaries
December 3, 2010

On Thursday, we embarked on our three week “Christmas” tour. (Technically, our tour was supposed to begin on Wednesday, but high winds conspired against us and our flight was canceled.) At three weeks, our tour will be the LONGEST tour NYP has ever attempted. So, it’s anyone’s guess if we’ll be on speaking terms when all is said and done.

Complicating things is the amount of driving ahead of us. We rented a mid-size SUV in Kansas City and, from there, we’re driving to the first 3 gigs: Omaha, Oklahoma City, and Topeka. If you don’t have a map of the American Midwest, trust us– it’s a lot of miles. So, to keep things friendly and to prevent us from chatting ourselves hoarse, our iPods come to the rescue. And, since it’s that time of year again, our playlists will likely feature our favorite Christmas records as well as some classic driving music. Here’s what I will be contributing to the mix:

I’ll never forget our drive into the Kansas sunset in September 2009 listening to Tom Petty’s Into the Great Wide Open and Bruce’s Born in the U.S.A. from top to finish, so I for sure want to revisit these records. But it’s really the season for holiday tunes.

It’s no secret how geeked I get around Christmastime each year. It’s probably due in part to my involvement in more than a half dozen Christmas recordings since I was a kid. I love Christmas music in almost all forms and aim to add a new record or two to the collection each year. I haven’t made my decision about what I want to hear in the car, but here’s what gets the spins every year:

Jingle All the Way – Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
I bought this on iTunes with a birthday gift card from our former baritone Scott Dispensa in 2008. It blew me away that Christmas and I often allow it to keep playing if it shuffles around the iPod out of season. What an amazing collection of musicians. Four of the most amazing musical brains playing their asses off! Vic Wooten’s solo version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” may possibly rival Nat King Cole, no joke! It’s a real breath of fresh air after too many covers of “All I Want For Christmas is You” and “This Christmas”… which remain my two LEAST favourite holiday tunes.

The Carol Album – Andrew Parrott, Taverner Consort and Players
This record is the recorded fruit of the New Oxford Book of Carols which gave us much of the material for I sing the birth

O magnum misterium: Twentieth Century Carols – Polyphony
Directed by Stephen Layton, this record is also a great inspiration for I sing the birth programming. My Christmas purchase in 2002 and a favorite every year since.

A Renaissance Christmas – Early Music New York
This program was my first professional early music gig and it’s full of so many golden oldies for an early music nerd like me. It’s also linked to the Christmas that me and missus got engaged in 2003. Lots of warm fuzzies with this record.

And I guess I should include Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s a no brainer, I know.  But I prefer not to play this record until I start trimming the tree sometime around Advent IV. It’s the first record I play when the wrapping paper starts ripping on Christmas Day.

I have no idea what everyone else wants to hear, but I’m sure it will be all over the map.  Let’s just hope Craig doesn’t want monopolize the radio with his insatiable appetite for the music of Daryl Hall & John Oates!