Five songs from local artists to celebrate the holidays with

Dec 23, 2023, 8:00 AM | Updated: 8:52 am

holiday songs seattle...

Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

As soon as the Christmas tunes start, for every handful of listeners happy to hear it, there are those unhappy and complaining about the once-a-year tunes. To celebrate being in a city with such rich music culture, its time to bring in the holidays with Seattle artists and songs that haven’t been overplayed in retail stores or on the radio.

Here are five of my favorites — with the hope you’ll enjoy adding them to your holiday playlist.

Brandi Carlile — “Oh Holy Night”

Talk Seattle music with me for more than a few minutes and you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Brandi Carlie. As a music director when her song “The Story” was released on the radio, I was instantly captured by her powerful vocals and how her music, while clearly rooted in familiar sounds, sounded so fresh. Her rendition of “Oh Holy Night” is just Carlile’s vocals, and that’s all that’s needed to make this one of my favorite versions ever recorded.

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Jimi Hendrix — “Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne”

Many holiday classics are in an orchestrated or vintage style, including modern interpretations of said songs. Finding quality rock songs for the season is a bit more challenging, but one of Seattle’s legends delivers with this medley. Hendrix is of course one of rock’s greatest guitarists and his fresh take on these standards should be cranked up to 11 at your holiday parties.

Pearl Jam — “Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time)”

I’ve seen a lot of speculation by Pearl Jam fans about the meaning of this particular track. One interpretation that resonated with me was that it could be from an unhoused person going through difficult times and remembering the peace and security of their childhood Christmases. But according to Eddie Vedder, it’s a song about mental health and insomnia.

“It’s about feeling lost in life and struggling to find peace within one’s self,” Eddie Vedder said, according to Old Time Music.

May we all find some peace in this year, and hope for the new one.

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David Bazan — “Away in a Manger”

David Bazan is the creative force behind critically acclaimed indie band Pedro The Lion. His music often wrestles with religious themes. So it’s not surprising his holiday album is titled “Dark Sacred Night.” Filled with standards, done in a classic melancholy indie form, this album isn’t the one to get the holiday party popping. But even if Bazan’s introspective slowcore isn’t generally your jam, his style works perfectly on his rendition of “Away in a Manger” with just acoustic guitar and vocals perfectly complimenting the standard.

Fleet Foxes — “White Winter Hymnal”

Branching out from the tunes we’ve all heard hundreds of times to find seasonal originals can be really rewarding. And that’s never been more the case than with this lush ode to a snowy winter from Fleet Foxes. The tune is one of the catchiest things I’ve heard, and you’ll find yourself humming it in no time. Two minutes and 27 seconds of pure indie pop perfection.

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Five songs from local artists to celebrate the holidays with