Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree

My wife gets tired when the gifts look like they were wrapped by little kids
This Yuletide will be different cause this is what I did:
Realized my wrapping weak spot could never be addressed at home
So I took care of that shortage of those papers, strings and bows
Gimme That Twine! Unhand that Ribbon!
No Terpsichore till they’re under the tree
—“Gimme that Twine!” by Rough Shop


Need to spice up that holiday record collection?

Informed by folk, rock, soul and country music, the award-winning St. Louis-based band Rough Shop has released its second Christmas cd, Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree. The Americana quintet—lead guitarist Andy Ploof, bassist Anne Tkach, rhythm guitarist John Wendland, pianist Jon Parsons and drummer Spencer Marquart—is joined by special guests from bands like Ransom Note, Magnolia Summer and the Love Experts. The 13-track cd includes nine originals, a rewrite and three rare covers: British folk-rock band Stackridge’s “North St. Grande,” the Carole King/Gerry Goffin-penned, “I Wish You a Merry Christmas” and a soulful version of Marvin Gaye’s “Purple Snowflakes.”

But what makes the album really shine are the Rough Shop originals spanning a wave of Christmas feelings from loneliness and wonder to longing and pure joy—with the requisite humor thrown in. Songs like the nostalgic, Wilco-esque leadoff track “Christmas Isn’t Like Any Day” and the wistful “Snowbound Girl”: “When the holidays are crashing all around you/ A blanket of white is all you see/ Crowds and confusion surround you/ And you’re longing for the way you used to be…” could well be holiday classics.

The band livens things up on the jazzy “Santa, What You Got in the Bag?” and “Gimme That Twine!”, a swingin’ remake of Jon Hendrick’s “Gimme That Wine,” with Wendland writing of a family man experiencing a wrapping paper shortage. (This is likely the first holiday song ever written using ‘Terpsichore,’ the Greek word for the Muse of dancing and song, to rhyme with tree.) There’s something for everyone on Rough Shop’s holiday album—including the hungover: “Sick Again,” and those who can’t make it home for the holidays: “Christmas at the Super 8”—so put it on during that tree trimming.

Take a listen here:

lisa heffernan

Lisa Heffernan received a master’s in Communications from Emerson College before moving to New York. She has worked for publications such as: Details, Nylon, Rolling Stone, Time Out, Newport Mercury, American Songwriter and W magazine.