What does it say that the holiday season is barely two weeks old and we’re already feeling fa-la-la-la-ed to death? We’ve all been staring at Christmas decorations in stores since mid-November, Santa’s been at the mall for weeks and the Christmas music in stores, well, let’s not even go there.
It’s not like there’s anything wrong with Christmastime or even the reason for the season, it’s just how many times can you hear “Jingle Bells” before you want to strangle the singer(s)?
The special in-the-round-style show, “Decembersongs,” features Grammy Award-winning songwriters Sally Barris, Jon Vezner and Dan Navarro, along with group organizer and Americana artist Amy Speace. Navarro wrote Pat Benatar’s Grammy Award-nominated “We Belong,” while Jon Vezner wrote Kathy Mattea’s “Where’ve You Been” and Sally Barris penned “Let The Wind Chase You”, which was recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Keith Urban.
Want to go?
WHAT: “Decembersongs” featuring Sally Barris, Dan Navarro, Amy Speace and Jon Vezner
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11
WHERE: The Listening Room (located inside the OurGuest Inn & Suites), 220 East Perry St., Port Clinton
INFO: 419-734-7050 or thelisteningroompc.com
Funcoast talked to Nashville resident Speace about this special holiday tour.
Funcoast: What exactly is “Decembersongs” and how did the four of you come together?
Amy Speace (AS): It was my idea a couple of years ago. I have done shows with each one of them. I thought about who would be the ideal group. I wanted to have two women and two men. There’s just sort of a natural chemistry between us that is pretty extraordinary. This is the third year out. In 2010, we put out a record of original holiday songs. So it’s mostly original music live, and we also do some reinventions of old standards and pull out obscure ones. We do one round of non-holiday material but the whole thing is a holiday show.
Funcoast: What are a few songs from the CD that act as centerpieces for the live show?
AS: There’s a song of mine called “I Want an Old Fashioned Christmas.” It’s like an old standard Bing Crosby-type song. And Sally Barris has a beautiful song on the record called “Home for the Holidays.” I think one of the best songs is called “Mary’s Christmas” by Jon Vezner. Kathy Mattea, who is his wife, sang the song in the ‘90s. It’s just gorgeous.
Funcoast: It sounds like these shows are very laid back, almost as if we’re invited into your living room to hear you play. Does that sound about right?
AS: It’s really well rehearsed so it’s not slapped together but we leave a lot of room for spontaneity. The four of us are really good friends and basically we sit up on stage together with a variety of instruments and we laugh and tell stories and tell jokes and sing on each other’s stuff. It’s a really fun show. It’s also got some heartfelt music, all of the stuff you’d want from an all-ages holiday show.
Funcoast: What sort of covers can we expect?
AS: We do an Emmylou Harris holiday bluegrass song, and an old Irish song called “Tales From an Irish Cabin.” It’s kind of obscure. We like holiday material that is kind of obscure like the “The Coventry Carol.” We don’t necessarily do “Jingle Bells.”
Funcoast: It sounds like for many reasons this won’t be the typical holiday show.
AS: You’ve got three Grammy Award-winning songwriters coming to Port Clinton with original songs and me playing ukulele and making everybody laugh. You’re not going to get better songwriters to come through and play holiday songs.