Various Artists

This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Vol. 1

Brushfire Records; November 2008

Five winters ago, Jack Johnson cut a handful of Christmas tunes for his family and friends on a four-track machine, and the recording became the seasonal soundtrack for the Brushfire Records crew. So this past summer, the label’s artists fired up their own four-tracks to lay down yuletide ditties, and the result is a pleasant-though not overly exciting-album that’s decent alternative background music for opening presents. Featuring enhanced covers and total originals from the famous likes of Jack, G. Love, Matt Costa, Mason Jennings, and Rogue Wave, as well as Santa Barbara favorites ALO and Zach Gill, the real winners are from Brushfire’s newest hires: Malaysian singer Zee Avi’s sweetly sad “No Christmas for Me” and English songwriter Neil Halstead’s sadly sweet “The Man in the Santa Suit” (a Fountains of Wayne cover).

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