Idaho Ho Ho Ho with Moxie Java, the annual holiday compilation of local artists, has a well-earned reputation for collecting unique and quality holiday music.
This year's edition maintains that tradition with an assortment of standards and originals from local artists like Ryan Bayne and Willison Roos, to artists with a wider net like Carole King, who belts out "Carol of the Bells" like an 'effin champ.
Overall, the collection leans a bit country, with offerings from Andy Byron and the Lost River Band, Steve Fulton and Micky and the Motorcars as well as Bayne, whose version of "Go Tell it On the Mountain" rumbles like a vintage Johnny Cash hymn.
"Satisfy My Heart (Christmas For Beginners)," from local Americana-rockers New Transit with Todd Sloan gets the award for standout crossover track, working just as much as Ben Folds-style piano ballad as it does a holiday song.
Another great track is "This Mistletoe (The Bum, Bum, BUm Song)," a bouncy country track from Boise band Ophelia. It moves more briskly than the rest of the compilation thanks to the jingle bells, fiddlin' and humorous vocals. Though the tone of the twin vocals sounds like vintage Dance Hall Crashers, the jump beat could easily pass for a lost track by The Andrews Sisters.
The oddest song of the bunch, "One For the Angels," comes courtesy of Todd Dunnigan. It tells the story of a salesman and has a song structure somewhere between a Broadway musical and "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues.
It should be pointed out, however, that there are no songs about holidays other than Christmas on the compilation.
If you don't much care for Christmas music or traditional folk and pop, you probably won't find much here to turn your ear. But if Christmas is your thing, it's hard to deny that there are some genuine gems in the originals department.
The compilation is available at Moxie Javas Idaho-wide, as well as at Record Exchange. Proceeds benefit the Idaho Foodbank.