Album Review of Lew Jetton: Christmas Past
I just downloaded this Christmas album a few weeks ago, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. Christmas and the blues go well together, though all-too-often blues artists will try to over-blues a holiday record. Lew Jetton resists that urge on Christmas Past, getting the bluesy energy-to-Christmas spirit ratio just right on this six-song release.
Lew kicks things off with a rousing, energetic rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” It’s a great song to rock to, with growling guitars and emphatic piano punctuating this disc-opener. It’s joined by three other Christmas standards, a Chuck Berry-era-esque “Run Run Rudolph,” a version of “White Christmas” performed in a peppy crooning style, and an Elvis-worthy, smooth, soft-rockin’-bluesy, kinda cheerful-sounding “Blue Christmas” (because everyone knows a bluesman loves a blue Christmas).
Mixed in among the standards are a couple Lew Jetton originals that fit the record like a glove. The title track, for example, delivers emotion in the form of a country blues-style reminiscence, with Lew’s hoarse vocals keeping things smooth and a bit sad. As much as I like Lew’s take on the cover tunes, I think “Christmas Past” may be my favorite track on this disc.
The other original, “Christmas With My Baby,” is rather the polar opposite; it’s a cheerful, energetic blues-rockin’ number, carrying along much of the energy of its lead-in, “Run Run Rudolph,” by somewhat emulating its early blues-rock guitar sound.
I enjoy Christmas music only in moderation, so I don’t add to my collection often, but this EP, with its energy, precision, and variety, has earned its spot on my holiday playlist. And it earned a rare Christmas album review.
I first ran across Lew’s music when I reviewed his album Rain earlier this year. And he’s planning a new non-holiday release for late spring next year which I’m really looking forward to. In the meantime, keep an eye on the “upcoming shows” page of his website to see if he’s playing near you.