This article originally appeared in the December 22,  2020  edition of the Pirates & Poets Newsletter.  CLICK HERE to subscribe to it.

We asked a few of our favorite musicians to share their favorite Christmas Songs with us. Their answers can be found below, along with YouTube links to the songs themselves. Rob Hill even sent us multiple songs! Merry Christmas and thanks so much for your support of Pirates & Poets and the independent artists we work with! 


Dennis McCaughey - “I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS” by Greg Lake 

There are so many wonderful Christmas songs and I have lots of favorites.  There’s one in particular that has always been very special.  “I Believe in Father Christmas” is a song written by Greg Lake of Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP). Written in 1974, this song is certainly not a traditional Christmas carol. The song lyrics invoke a message of the promises that Christmas brings. The promise of snow, choirs, Christmas trees, presents, bells ringing and the commercialization of the holiday. The words also touch on children’s beliefs and the loss of innocence that come along with the dreams of Christmas. All this though is wrapped in a beautiful, melodic, orchestral production. Combined with Greg Lake’s powerful and smooth voice, the last verse leaves you with  hope for peace and brotherhood in the world. I still get chills when I hear it. Brilliant! 


Coley McCabe - “THE ANGELS CRIED” by Alan Jackson & Alison Krauss 

This song gives me goose bumps.  It was co-written by one of my favorite songwriters of all time Harley Allen.  Harley was a Nashville legend and character, and left us way too soon.  He wrote many hits and was a master of writing piercing "story songs".  In this recording I love the honesty in their voices and how they blend.  I love the simplicity in the production, and how even through that, you hear and feel the emotion in the performance and message.


Johnny Russler  - “SANTA CLAUS IS BACK IN TOWN” by Santa Mentals. 

My absolute favorite Christmas song is "Santa Claus is Back in Town"   There are many versions of this from Blues cats to Elvis to Joe Bonamassa to Kenny Chesney but my favorite version is from a group called the Santa Mentals. I discovered this version on a Toys for Tots album released in 2008.   I have never been able to find out anything about the band but this is my favorite version.   Being from Chicago, a Blues town, and being a man with a guitar problem is what makes this my #1 Christmas song.   I love the guitar tracks, the vocals and just the way it makes Santa out to be a bad-ass. I mean, a guy who works all year round to make people happy, delivers it all in 24 hours deserves to ride in style. When I  put up my Christmas Tree this is the first song on the Christmas playlist.  What really made me happy was to see Little Steven play it with Kurt Russell in the Christmas Chronicles. 


Rob Hill - "HAPPY CHRISTMAS (WAR IS OVER)" - John Lennon 

A reminder that of all the things Christmas should stand for, that it is peace and kindness and oneness with our brothers and sisters around the world. The line “War is over, if you want it” emphasizes the simplistic but profound truth that peace is a choice we can make together. 


Rob Hill - "CHRISTMAS IN THE TRENCHES"  - John McCutcheon 

For the same reasons, this account, despite being an account from a fictional soldier, is the true story of a spontaneous Christmas truce called by British and German troops in World War I, when the voice of a single solder singing a carol stopped the firing guns and resulted in a shared Christmas experience between the warring soldiers.

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