Two years ago, I released the fist Sci-Fi Romance album, …and surrender my body to the flames, and that holiday season, put out a version of my favorite traditional holiday song — and staple of Jimmy Stewart movies — Auld Lang Syne. It seemed appropriate, then, that with the release of our album The Ghost of John Henry earlier this year, that we should put something else out around the holidays as a thank you to fans, friends, and everybody who made 2012 such a surprising and wonderful year for us.
I give you, then, our version of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, which I wager is not like the versions of this song you are used to hearing. Or, I hope it isn’t. I mean, we played it at about 190 beats-per-minute, for one thing. Listen here, or head straight to the download page, where you can get it either for free or for however much you care to pay.
I had the idea for this take on the song last year, but it didn’t crystallize in time for us to get it recorded for the 2011 holidays. I’m glad I waited. Over the summer, I met Tim Moore at Mas Music Productions here in LA. He mixed and mastered our track Walk a Mile, which we’d been invited to contribute to a London Olympics-based compilation. We learned this song last Saturday and played it live at our last show of the year that evening. It went well, so I called Tim to see if he could get us in quickly. He was again wonderful to work with, and his contributions to this recording were tremendous.
We wrapped the track with about an hour left on our block in the studio. Kurt and Jody had taken off, and I didn’t want the time to go to waste, so I grabbed some brushes, the guitar, the bass, then hopped back into the booth and did a quick version of another traditional Christmas song, which I’m including as a B-side on this release. It’s one of my favorites, and I hope you guys enjoy it.
Finally, I went back and forth about whether or not I should say something about this, but I feel not to would be wrong: I booked our studio time on Thursday, December 13, and we recorded on Saturday, December 15. The day in between was the day of the unthinkable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. By the time I got to the studio, there was less of me. My soul had been diminished since the morning before. And I really struggled with the idea of recording a Christmas song about joy in light of what had happened.
In the end, I believe that one of the jobs of artists is to help people, to transport them, to give them hope when hope seems out of reach. We likely did not do that in our three-minute Christmas song. But to fail to try would have felt like an abdication. I recognize that we are now marching into this holiday season differently than we were a week ago. But there are still many, many reasons to be joyful, and thankful.
I am deeply thankful for all of you. I could not have anticipated the shape of 2012, and you have given it a lovely one for us. Thank you, and may God rest ye merry.