This year's “Static Christmas,” recorded on Dec. 1 at Kamps and debuting Monday on NewsOK.com, builds on what has become a great holiday tradition for the series: bringing local artists together to pool their talents and create new Christmas memories rooted in Oklahoma City's music scene.
In the last few days of Advent in 2009, as we were just closing out our first year of “Static,” Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips started the “Static Christmas/Static Holiday Sessions.” In the middle of rehearsals for their New Year's Eve performance of Pink Floyd's “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Coyne and Drozd joined us in the NewsOK Studios to perform their beautifully megaphone'd versions of “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” followed by an off-the-cuff reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
This was a hard episode to top, and so we shifted directions in 2010, inviting multiple performers to join us at Urban Roots in Deep Deuce for one of our earliest remote sessions for Static. We asked several performers to pair up and collaborate on Christmas classics, and the performances were varied but uniformly stunning. That year, Jabee and Dr. Pants performed the Run-DMC classic “Christmas in Hollis,” Daniel Walcher and Skating Polly joined for John Lennon's “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” brothers Matt and Joe Stansberry did “White Christmas,” Sherree Chamberlain harmonized with Brine Webb on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” K.C. Clifford and Jami Smith blended together on “Draw Near,” and Cami Stinson, Cara Black and Jeremy Thomas closed it out with their soul-gospel reading of “Silent Night.”
It was a concept that worked beautifully, and last year we relocated to the Deep Deuce Grill for another holiday special. Denver Duncan joined OK Sweetheart's Erin Austin on “Baby It's Cold Outside,” Stinson returned to perform with The Nghiems on “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” Marcy Priest and Sean C. Johnson played on the Vince Guaraldi Trio classic “Christmas Time is Here,” newlyweds Maggie McClure and Shane Henry played “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and Chase Kerby and Chelsey Cope capped off the show with “I'll be Home for Christmas.”
Each year of “Static Christmas” seems to bring a new character or stylistic theme, and the new special captured at Kamps evokes more recent holiday traditions. While Duncan returned to play an inspired and inspiring version of the Christmas hymn “Go Tell It On the Mountain” with Brianna Gaither, this year's collection was dominated by late-20th century Christmas pop. Other than “Mountain,” the oldest song performed this year was “Blue Christmas,” which was given a swooning blues reading by Feathered Rabbit and slide guitarist Moon. The newest was Mont Lyons and Alyssa Jackson's beautifully baroque performance of Sufjan Stevens' “Christmas Unicorn,” and the set was rounded out by two songs from polar ends of my childhood: Honeylark and Horse Thief's Cameron Neal playing “You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and O Fidelis and The Grown Ups on “Last Christmas” by Wham!
All these performances, new and old, can be seen at static.newsok.com starting Monday, Dec. 17. I cannot thank videographer/producer Kyle Roberts, producer/organizer Kerry Myers, Kamps owner James Vu, videographer Garett Fisbeck, soundmen Royce Sharp and Michael Clardy and our on-staff sound mixer Todd Fraser for devoting so much time and effort. Most of all, these performers gave up several prime hours on a Saturday to make this year's “Static Christmas” so memorable. I cannot thank you enough for creating this year's soundtrack to my holidays and, hopefully, yours as well.