A modern moodiness often attached to holiday gifts and wrapping paper, for some, Christmas can be a tough time of year. Elvis Presley famously crooned about having a “Blue Christmas,” while John Lee Hooker had one too. Canned Heat with Dr. John experienced the “Christmas Blues” real bad. Now, joining the sad but true list is “You Can’t Have Christmas Without The Blues,” from Jack And The Box. But this time around, the band is perhaps greater than the song.
On the Big Blind Records® label, Jack And The Box hits the nail on the head with “You Can’t Have Christmas Without The Blues.” December might be filled with red and green, yet leaning toward the color blue frequently is a popular trend. The title alone of Jack And The Box’s original, “You Can’t Have Christmas Without The Blues,” gets the wistfulness flowing before the music even has started. JATB wastes little time getting straight to the heart of the matter at :12 into the music video with the lyrics, “It’s that time of year/Where everybody is spreadin’ some cheer/But if you listen, you’ll hear it too.”
Capturing loneliness that is simultaneously communal as well as personal goes beyond the candid lyrics. The guitar intro for “You Can’t Have Christmas Without The Blues” has a BB King kind of clarity and yearning so often associated with the blues. It is not clear if the pickups are humbuckers turned down low or single coil tone. Meanwhile, skins, cymbal work and a precise bass set the footing for a classic mix. The vocals contain the slightest inflection, almost like a flatted semi-tone, only adding to the brooding blueness. In a way, Jack And The Box makes things fun with the band’s take on the holiday season. The smooth harmonica fills and expertly played solos lend to the entertainment.
Realizing the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, maybe this time around, that particular saying should be reversed. Underneath it all, Jack And The Box has a keen sense of humor, including frontman Keith Pevoto, who is paralyzed and blind. The Austin, Texas-based band’s lineup includes Keith Pevoto – lead vocals; Randy Glines – bass; Jamie Krueger – drums; Josh Fulero – guitar; and Greg Izor – harp.
Be sure to check out the album Walk That Walk.
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Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.