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Saturday September 23, 2017
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Okay, you're waiting for the other Christmas stocking to fall, right? Here it is. I am decidedly more ambivalent about the deluge of Christmas music that floods the airwaves, earlier and earlier it seems, each year — especially the new songs, many of which seem to be merely crass attempts to cash in on the Yuletide season.

Recently, though, I came across twelve new songs, one for each day of Christmas, that are not cynically pitched at the mass market — though the masses should, and I hope will, discover them. The music on Whit Hill and John Latini's D-E-A-R S-A-N-T-A makes me smile, grin wickedly, and laugh out loud, and also gives my sentimental side plenty to savor. The recording has more clever lines and rhymes, more terrific singing and musicianship, than most trees have Christmas lights.

Latini's "Going with My Cousin to See Santa at the Mall" unwraps the CD. Doesn't that title conjure up a whole home video of holiday images? It has lyrics like "Every year my list was half as long as I was tall" and "They'd make the North Pole look like it was someplace you might go," all drolly delivered in Latini's gravelly Greg Brownesque bass. His "Christmas in Michigan" adds more memorable lines: "Six months till I'll fish again,/'Cause I put away my gear when ice fishing starts./I never was fond of frozen parts."

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