New Orleans Sings Along at Christmas Time

[Updated] According to singer Judith Owen, Christmas has two sides—“Bloody awful and wonderful,” and both are represented in Christmas songs. When sung together, they’re shared expressions of community, but “they're all about yearning,” she said in 2012. “They're about missing home. They're about missing people. Songs like 'White Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song' are about yearning. 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' is one of the saddest songs I've heard in my entire life."

Debbie Davis Learns to Ignore Her Inner Critic on "Vices and Virtues"

On “Lulu’s Back in Town,” pianist Josh Paxton plays an acrobatic solo with the omni-directional energy of a four-year-old boy churning on ice cream and a juice box. When he finishes, singer Debbie Davis matches his intensity when she resumes the verse, then you can hear her briefly rein in the Fats Waller classic to set up a shared surge before the two blast it out to the song’s conclusion.

Debbie Davis and Matt Perrine Deal with Christmas

Christmas records can often show all the imagination of gift cards in stockings, but on Oh Crap, It’s Christmas! Debbie Davis and Matt Perrine includes holiday favorites as well as those banging on the canon’s door demanding entry. “Hanukah in Santa Monica,” Davis says, “is like Mel Brooks on The Muppet Show. It’s about being smart and funny and fast.” They play an ironic “Carol of the Bells” with Perrine’s sousaphone taking the lead, and the novelty “Mele Kalikimaka,” the Hawaiian Christmas song.

Papa Brees, Papa Mali, and Saints Superstitions

Tonight, the New Orleans Saints open their preseason at home against the Tennessee Titans. Today in The New Orleans Advocate, I talk to musicians about their levels of Saints fandom. Some are indifferent, some are emotionally wracked, some are diehard and will face hostile audiences in other teams’ stadiums to see the Saints. After I filed the story, musicians continued to send me thoughts and comments, so I moved some to here.