This Christmas: New Holiday Coverfolk
from Kate Rusby, Stylusboy, Alathea, Aurora, Boom Forest & more!

No snow yet here in the wilds of evergreen New England, but Santa’s been through town on a firetruck, so I suppose the holidays are upon us. Whether you’re shopping locally for the ones you love or just cuddled up by the fire, here’s a few holiday finds to get you into the spirit of the season: new Christmas coverage from delicate carols to indie folk rock masterpieces, the perfect antidote to the overplayed chestnuts of the holiday radio dial.

  • Kate Rusby: Bradfield

    Any new work from Kate Rusby is a cause for rejoicing, and this year’s Christmas album The Frost Is All Over – her third, after While Mortals Sleep (2011) and Sweet Bells (2008) – is no exception. A deep dig into the history of regional folk from the British isles means that most of these carols will be new for listeners, especially on this side of the pond, but never fear: Rusby could make the morning paper sound pure and sweet as well water, and the local focus brings an unparalleled intimacy to the songs even as their horn arrangements bring a full, rich sound to the Christmas traditions of South Yorkshire and beyond.

  • Stylusboy: Oh Little Town

    Darling lo-fi indiefolk with a Coventry lilt from the Christmas Light EP, an upbeat five-track whose physical incarnation comes complete with handmade cover adorned with individual trees cut from world maps by UK rising star Stylusboy, aka singer-songwriter Steve Jones. Click through for a wonderful sing-along Jingle Bells, too.

  • Lindsay Straw: The Forlorn Queen/The Christ Child Lullaby

    As if we needed another reason to hew close to the Boston scene, singer-songwriter Lindsay Straw’s new Winter EP is tender and mild, a safe space by the holiday fire simply set with elegance, in which soft string arrangements and a voice as earnest as Kate Wolf or Cindy Kallet with a hint of winter whisper make for a four-song set perfect for the quiet moments of the season.

  • Boom Forest: The Holly & The Ivy

    A stunningly powerful rearrangement of the classic carol from Daytrotter darling Boom Forest, aka Nashville-via-Wisconsin’s John Paul Roney, released in February of 2015 to not a whit of fanfare as part of a darling, ambient 4-song mixed-bag EP of Christmas songs called Coal: A Winter Split from Bread King Records, a Wisconsin-based record label that claims it specializes in cassette tapes and seems to produce mainly edgy folktronica from the margins of genre.

  • Kate Thomas: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

    Her tiny Holiday EP If The Fates Allow was released on the cusp of Christmas 2014, so we’d be excused if we’re a year late in celebrating Denver’s own Kate Thomas, whose bright and hearty voice rings true as Christmas bells. But bringing her into this season is an easy choice: the songs here are name-your-price, and worth more, with a loving take on new Christian seasonal Mary Did You Know and a gently, playfully countrified White Christmas that will lift your spirits.

  • Smoke Fairies: So Much Wine (orig. The Handsome Family)
  • Smoke Fairies: Steal Softly Through Snow (orig. Captain Beefheart)

    British dream pop duo Smoke Fairies take on the season adeptly in 2014 release Wild Winter, which we seem to have missed last year but is getting good press as the 2015 holidays approach. The album is aptly titled, with mostly original tracks, plus today’s two-fer: a droning, dreamy cover of The Handsome Family’s depressing So Much Wine, and a grungy psychedelic take on Captain Beefheart’s Steal Softly Through Snow that comes off like Fairport Convention in a snowstorm.

Cover Lay Down shares ethnographic musings and coverfolk throughout the year thanks to the kindness and support of patrons like you, so please keep us mind as you consider gift-giving this year…and stay tuned for more holiday coverfolk as the year winds down, plus our annual Best Of The Year double-feature, featuring covers albums, EPs, deep cuts and singles sure to warm your heart and delight your ears!

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