2020 brings unique crop of holiday songs by NJ musicians

Tony Trischka weary year


This has been a year like no other. And it has produced a batch of new holiday songs, in response to it, that are like no other year’s holiday songs.

Some of these songs are sad. Some are funny. And some are a little of both.

Here’s a look at some of the new holiday recordings that have been produced, this year, by New Jersey artists.

“Christmas Cheer (This Weary Year),” Tony Trischka

Banjo master Trischka will release Shall We Hope, a concept album about the Civil War, in January. But he has put out this seasonally appropriate songs — which happens to be appropriate for 2020, too —in advance. Michael Daves handles lead vocals in addition to playing guitar, singing lines that originally were meant to evoke a soldier’s plight but now have nearly universal meaning: “Christmas cheer, this weary year, not like the last, you know/But hopefully, by the next we’ll be united with our families back home.”

“Merry Christmas, I Guess,” Anthony D’Amato

“Merry Christmas, I guess/We’re all just doing our best/To make it through this wretched year alive,” sings D’Amato at the start of this haunting ballad about spending Christmas on your own.

“It’s a Pandemic Christmas,” Alice Leon

The mall Santa is behind plexiglass, the reindeer are sick, grandma is having trouble with Zoom and Lysol is given as a gift in this song. And, oh yeah, the North Pole is melting. “It’s a pandemic Christmas, hoping for a better new year,” Leon sings in the chorus.

“Covid Christmas,” Jim Testa

A similarly humorous take on this year’s holiday festivities, with Testa singing clever lines such as “Deck the halls with sterile gauze/And please don’t cough on Santa Claus” and “I can’t kiss beneath the mistletoe, no caroling this year/But instead of a lousy fruitcake, we’ll all get remdesivir.”

“Christmas Wrapping, 2020 Edition,” Bryan Hansen Band featuring Kim Boyko

“Deck those halls, trim those trees/Raise up cups of Christmas cheer/Just do it from six feet apart/Christmas by ourselves this year,” sings Kim Boyko in a new version of The Waitresses’ early-’80s hit “Christmas Wrapping,” with lyrics reflecting the current pandemic.

“I Need You Christmas,” The Jonas Brothers

This new song has no specific references to 2020 but its melancholy tone feels very appropriate for the year.

Holiday medley, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra musicians

And while it’s not made up of new songs, per se, this new video from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra features its musicians playing holiday songs in a socially distanced manner.


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