‘Magic Mirror’ – Pearl Charles

This album is AMAZING. Everyone and their HBOMax password leeches know that Wrap Around Joy is my significant other, and this gives me some major Wrap Around Joy vibes. With, in Pearl Charles fashion, a breezy twang to boot.

I may be stepping on our resident twang expert Amber’s toes here but this album deserves attention. It comes out of the gates piping hot with ‘Only for Tonight’ which sounds like Abba and Stevie Wonder made a City Pop song in Nashville.

That’s what I love about Pearl’s music, it seamlessly blurs genre lines in a fun and organic way.

My introduction to Pearl’s music actually happened in person at a Smith Westerns (I think? Maybe Youth Lagoon?) show at The Echo in 2011 (I think). It was a brief encounter, after which I checked out her music which showed great promise.

So we’ve met, but I don’t know Pearl personally at all. However one thing you don’t need a telescope to see is growth, and Pearl has grown an astounding amount since I first heard her music in 2011. Each release just keeps getting better, and I think she’s finally hit her stride in a more commercial way. Seriously, there are no skips on this record. Here’s the single:

And then here’s my favorite older Pearl Charles track:

First ‘on repeat’ album of 2021 for me. Onward!

the tea on twang *festivus edition*

The world of Americana and Roots music is vast and encompasses folk to blues, bluegrass to rock. What does Americana even mean? Is it country music? (a question I get a lot) Well sure, kind of, but not really if you listen to “country radio” (which is a very different sound nowadays)…but these are details we can explore at another time on The Tea on Twang. And eventually, we’ll dive into it all. But for now, let’s get to music: 

The Shootouts – Look Out the Window (The Winter Song) 

A cover of a classic from Gene Autry & Rosemary Clooney you may have never heard in your caroling. The Shootouts’ cover is inspired by the version from Tex Williams. In 2021, I’ll be giving you all the tea on this Akron, Ohio band as they are preparing to release their sophomore album Bullseye. 

Maria Muldaur – No Money, No Honey

My favorite track on Stony Plain’s Christmas Blues compilation album. Stony Plain Records is a Canadian based label specializing in all genres of Roots music. For a blues lover, this will quickly become your favorite collection of holiday tunes. 

Eric Hutchinson – Christmas on Vacation 

An original! Is Eric twang? Pfft who cares – all singer/songwriters will find love here. 

It has a breezy reggae vibe and makes me wish I was having Christmas on the beach. 

Los Lobos – Feliz Navidad 

The only song in Spanish I can sing along with… It’s a classic and this version from the East L.A. band is the one you should have in your mix. They have a whole album of holiday music (with an original as well): LLEGÓ NAVIDAD 

Dallas Moore – Honky Tonk Holidaze 

The twang is strong with this one and it delivers as promised with a very honky tonk tune for your holidaze. This should be played loud and preferably in a bar (whenever we are allowed back into bars). 

Calexico- Green Grows The Holly

An acoustic update to the old English carol, Calexico successfully delivers on their Tex-Mex vibe. You can find this on another record label holiday music compilation: Holidays Rule released from Hear Music/Concord Music Group back in 2012. Some other artists featured: The Civil Wars (please, please get back together), The Shins, Irma Thomas with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Punch Brothers and lots more. 

Charley Pride – Christmas in My Hometown (full album)

An icon in country music who just passed away. If you want one holiday album to just ‘set and forget’ it’s his 1970, Christmas in My Hometown.