Here it is: my final Christmas related post. Taken from the 1981 documentary Heartworn Highways, the following video clip shows Guy and Susanna Clark, Steve Earle, Steve Young, Rodney Crowell and Jim McGuire along with several other guests jamming at Guy Clark’s house, Christmas Eve, 1975. The documentary follows the above performers, plus David Allan Coe, Larry Jon Wilson, Charlie Daniels and others, during the last few weeks of 1975 and the first few weeks of 1976, featuring a variety of performances. The performances can be hit or miss, but the overall documentary is a great portrait of these artists during a signal year in the development of Outlaw Country, as well as an interesting meditation on the changing South and musical nostalgia. (Such seminal albums as Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger and Guy Clark’s Old No. 1 were released in 1975.)
I’ve selected this clip as my concluding Holiday post because it really embodies Christmas as I remember it: everyone sits around a table late into the night, half-dozing off from too much wine, swapping songs (or in the case of my upbringing, stories) and slipping into an easy revery and the accompanying nostalgia. When they break into “Silent Night,” it’s hard not to join in: a half-dozen world-class musicians lazily pick their way through a Christmas classic, singing in sweet harmony. Now that’s what the holidays should be like.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!