Every year since 2000, I’ve put together a collection of Christmas cheer that I call “Ho-Ho Brother.” I was inspired by the tech-savvy Rick Taylor who handed me his collections for a couple of years running and I finally said, “I should do this!”
So, each year, putting together another collection became a labor of love. Over the 13 years, I’ve tried not to repeat songs—in title, yes, but not the same artist.
I put in a dash of traditional songs, some new, some quirky, a few original contributions—either comedy bits or a tune—and some new discoveries that I hope you’ll enjoy.
The 2013 edition has been titled, “10 Years That Seemed Like a Decade” because it was ten years ago that the Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show on 92.5-KLSY received a surprise going away party.
December 19th, 2003, was a Friday morning. Our producer, Bryon Mengle, had poured his heart into this show, as we all had a sneaky feeling this was going to be it. I’ve included several cuts from that show on this album, including Alice’s line that “careers were on the line.” We were, in fact, just hours away from unemployment.
But if you get to choose how you go out, that would have been the way to do it.
I’ve always been a major fan of Christmas, both from the message and from the experience. That day’s show included KING 5’s Dennis Bounds reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, live performances by Tim Noah, artists featured on the “Christmas in the Northwest” albums and even Brenda White, live on stage, singing the title song.
On Ho-Ho Brother 13, you’ll hear Bryon the Producer singing “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” with a group of school kids from an Issaquah elementary school. The kid helping me out with “Toy Shop” is Jackson Gerdes, son of former KLSY music director Darla Thomas. Fred Bugg, a guy who frequented the MH&A show over the years, provides an Al Bundy and Robin Leach for the cause. You’ll even discover Ola Gjeilo, a Norwegian composer coming on the scene and his song, “Tundra.” It’s haunting, while at the same time paints an audio picture of a snow-covered home in Norway.
You’ll also hear this year’s Christmas song that I’m turning into a video, which features the amazing Alana Baxter. For the third year in a row, she’s trusting me to turn a couple of hours goofing around in a recording studio and with a camera into a fun song. Click here to see the video of “I won’t hate you very much tonight (it’s Christmas).”
While Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for the things we have, Christmas is more about being thankful for the people still with us. It’s when we wedge in writing an annual letter or licking 100 envelopes to maintain the tradition of Christmas cards. With Facebook and the Internet keeping us closer than ever, we almost don’t need an annual recap of what we’ve done over the past year. But, for tradition’s sake, we carry on.
And that’s why I keep churning out one more “Ho Ho Brother” each year. I have friends that still have that very first edition. I remember my mom saying she was missing a couple of years and so I burned her copies, in order for her to have the complete collection.
This year’s CD is dedicated to the memory of a show and a person I never had imagined I would spend so much time with—Alice Porter.
The spirit of Christmas is there for anyone who would like to catch it. It truly is a marvelous time of year.