Americana Holidays has this offering for you: a premiere of Hal Cannon’s song “Days of Christmas Time.” Recording engineers for the song were Michael Greene and Ryan Tilby and it was mixed by Dave Tate and mastered by James Anderson.
“Days of Christmas Time” is Hal Cannon on vocals and banjo-guitar; Gus Bigdanow and Evan Taylor on trumpets; Mark Robinette on euphonium; Dan Bryce on tuba; and Glenn Webb on percussion. The lyrics by Hal Cannon are set to a traditional melody based on “The Days of ’49.” The musical arrangement is courtesy of Ricklen Nobis.
With the grittiest of vocals, a traditional melody and brass instruments to punctuate the air, Hal Cannon has crafted a truly timeless Christmas song.
When I wrote, “The Days of Christmas Time,” it started out as a parody of a traditional folk song from the California Gold Rush, “The Days of 49.” The original song is a nostalgic view from the vantage of an old timer, part of the original wave of miners who came to California in1849 to strike it rich in the mining camps. It’s told in first person from a character named Tom Moore looking back with nostalgia to those wild and wooly times.
To begin with I simply exchanged Tom Moore for Santa Claus and Days of Forty-nine to Days of Christmas Time. As I dug deeper a theme emerged that I did not intend. This Santa Claus of “Days of Christmas Time,” started revealing himself as the saint of giving, looking at us from the streets of a world gone awry with greed and selfishness. As I wrote, Santa began transforming from the saccharine jolly old elf born of vintage Coca-Cola ads into a wise and bearded man in tatters, observing a world awash with winners and losers with only the winner thinking they deserved the gifts. I never intended the song to be political but it could be taken that way as the rich get richer and poor get poorer. Are we ready for a Santa who is gives us all a lump of coal for our complacency, our complicity? I’d say, it’s about time. What does Santa think? — Hal Cannon