Not just Bob Dylan's Christmas album
December 19, 2014 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm going home for the holidays for the first time in five years. Help me assemble the perfect soundtrack for my trip.

Home is extreme northwestern Minnesota/northeastern North Dakota. I want songs that evoke the feeling of either taking a trip to that part of the country (or somewhere rural) OR of returning home OR of being "home" for Christmas (Okkervil River's "Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas" is a good example). Bonus if songs are cozy and wintery but not overtly Christmasy. Extra bonus if it's a semilocal artist. The only thing I'm opposed to adding is that one song by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

My taste is very broad/eclectic but my favorite stuff is pretty mellow and lo-fi. Favorites include Smog/Bill Callahan, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Joni Mitchell, the Fall.

Playlist already includes:
Obligatory "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel
"Say Shh" - Atmosphere
"We Can Get Together" - the Hold Steady
"Lemon Grove Avenue" - Mason Jennings
"Empire Builder" - Mason Jennings
"Just Like Christmas" - Low
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" - John Denver
posted by easy, lucky, free to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The first thing I thought was (good, early '70s) Rod Stewart's version of "Country Comfort."
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:44 PM on December 19, 2014

Also, your username makes me think you might like some stuff off the Bright Eyes Christmas album. This, sung by Maria Taylor, is beautiful.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:49 PM on December 19, 2014

How about someone anticipating a loved one returning home for Christmas? The Pretenders, 2000 Miles
posted by oceanview at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2014

Also, I think you would love the album The McGarrigle Christmas Hour (the family that gave us the Wainrights, among others). This, while somewhat sad, is so atmospheric and great, as is the rest of the album.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:52 PM on December 19, 2014

"Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements
"Home and Dry" by Pet Shop Boys
posted by Mothlight at 1:55 PM on December 19, 2014

I asked about Minnesota music a while back and it's worth going through those answers.
posted by advicepig at 2:16 PM on December 19, 2014

I'm no giant fan of Bon Hiver, but my kid brother told me about Holocene, because it's about two brothers heading home for the holidays and sharing a joint over a snowy walk. It's pretty nice and evokes winter like CRAZY.
posted by Richat at 2:19 PM on December 19, 2014

North Country by The Rankin Family. (They're Canadian but equally applicable to Minnesota.)
posted by ellebeejay at 2:32 PM on December 19, 2014

Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea.
posted by TORunner at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2014

Response by poster: Ha, advicepig. I see that I answered your Minnesota music question.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:41 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm heading to MN tomorrow and just Me-mailed you some Christmas tunes that I've been digging lately and put together for my mix cd club. Have a safe trip!
posted by JannaK at 5:40 PM on December 19, 2014

Although they're a NYC band, While I Shovel The Snow by The Walkmen just sounds like winter to me.
posted by downtohisturtles at 7:01 PM on December 19, 2014

Minnesota 1945 (link provides two versions) has some interesting perspectives.
posted by megatherium at 8:44 PM on December 19, 2014

Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea. Introduced to me back in the day while driving home at Christmas time by my Bowie/Talking Heads/The Fall loving boyfriend and I think it's the perfect answer for your question.
posted by shelleycat at 12:35 AM on December 20, 2014

Vienna Teng's "Homecoming (Walter's Song)" feels right for this, and is conveniently on the same album as her "Atheist Christmas Carol".
posted by jferg at 8:06 AM on December 20, 2014

Something from Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights album from last year might work. Of course the first thing that came to mind was Dylan's "Girl From the North Country" (there are many, many covers); the lyrics might not fit, but it's very wintery. Also, I adore The Winter Proper by The Lucksmiths.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 10:25 AM on December 20, 2014

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