We were already hooked on Kevin Morby and his new album City Music, which made our 50 best albums of 2017, but his cover of “Blue Christmas” (available in the player below) sounds better than the Elvis Presley and Zooey Deschanel’s versions combined. Morby gets shaggy with the song, messing with its melodic form, adding pauses and subtle hints of insincerity. It’s coy. Not to mention the drum machine that opens and maintains groove throughout.
Here’s a statement from Morby (via Noisey) on the making of “Blue Christmas:”
Kyle and I have spent Christmas together for the past two years, so I thought it appropriate to record a Chris Cringle jam with him in his home studio. On Christmas Day Kyle usually dresses like an elf and skips around and screams ‘Christmas!’ Every five minutes or so. Christmas in LA is a funny thing, it’s usually about 65 degrees and sunny out so it always feels a little psychedelic that’s it’s actually Christmas day after growing up in the Midwest where it usually snows, or at the very least is very cold. But there’s something special about celebrating the Holidays in the sun. Anyways Kyle and I chose Blue Christmas because I wanted to pretend I was Elvis for an afternoon, and we had a great time making it. Truth be told, the whole thing was a Christmas Miracle.
Over the past couple months, Morby’s gone on tour, shared a previously unreleased tune for charity and covered a Velvet Underground song with Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee. When we spoke with him back in June, just after City Music saw its release, he had this perspective to offer on touring: “It kind of opens the creative brain. It’s almost kind of like when I’m on tour, my creative brain will open up and it’ll collect all these things and it’ll put them in this bank. When I do get somewhere, and I get time to relax, and I can be with my piano or be with my guitar, all those things come out that I collected along the way.” Now, it’s home for the holidays.
The full “Indie for the Holidays” playlist, which comes out tomorrow, has already teased us with an Albert Hammond Jr. rendition of “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot,” with more covers coming soon. For excitement’s sake, find the full tracklist below.
”Indie for the Holidays” Tracklist:
01. “Blue Christmas,” Kevin Morby
02. “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Charly Bliss
03. “Coventry Carol,” Lemon Twigs
04. “Little Saint Nick,” Best Coast
05. “Oh Winter,” Eisley
06. “(There Won’t Be) One More Christmas,” Coco Hames
07. “Merry Christmas Baby,” Blond Ambition
08. “Brighid’s Flame,” Jeff The Brotherhood
09. “Anything Helps,” Matt Costa
10. “Christmas with Bandini,” Korey Dane
11. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Great Grandpa
12. “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot,” Albert Hammond, Jr.
13. “Little Altar Boy,” Dean & Britta (with Sonic Boom)
14. “When The Snowflakes Fall,” Freedom Fry
15. “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus,” Jessica Lea Mayfield
16. “Feliz Navidad,” SUSTO
17. “Christmas in Latinoamerica,” Mexican Institute of Sound
18. “Wonderful Christmastime,” Slow Dancer