It’s that time of year again, and this year’s Christmas Pudding compilation is truly a stunner. There probably couldn’t be a more heart-wrenching opening than Keli Rutledge’s version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Rutledge was a rising star among local vocalists who lost her life in a car accident earlier this year. This is a beautiful, albeit haunting, rendition of the modern holiday classic.
Analog Outlaws has one of my favorite numbers, “Christmas Is Finally Here,” which is one of the least carol-sounding of the lot. John Caufield lays down “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” like I’d imagine Ryan Adams or Rhett Miller would, while Vintage Wednesday will blow you away with “What Child Is This,” invoking their inner Fleetwood Mac. It’s not hard to understand why they won this year’s Proof Is in the Pudding contest. Jam Now is the solo outfit for Vintage Wednesday guitarist Jam Austin Murray, and he throws down the delightful “Christmas Time,” while Callie Young contributes a lovely acoustic take on “Baby Please Come Home.”
Ironkill’s “Dear Santa” is one of the best metal Christmas songs I’ve ever heard. Pop wunderkinds People Who Could Fly take on “Last Christmas” and knock it right out of the park. Kailin Kay’s sweet take on “Christmas Is the Time” should be a local classic. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is one of my favorite seasonal songs, and this version by Good Boy Daisy has an infectious arrangement with raging guitars and a truly rocking pace. Elizabeth Tighe lovingly performs “Hallelujah.” “Jingle Bells” by Innocent Elaine is a perfect punk-rock take on the Christmas classic, while Night 3 Nations’ take on “Little Drummer Boy” feels slightly sinister. The compilation concludes perfectly with Aaron Honda delivering the beautiful piano-driven “Song for Winter.”