Christmas is upon us, and that means inoculating yourself against the relentless onslaught of much of the Christmas carol canon. To save your ears — and to celebrate the seasonal offerings of some local artists — senior music writers Roy Kasten and Christian Schaeffer will count down twelve of the finest holiday jams from St. Louis artists each weekday from now through December 24.
Day 3, Cassie Morgan & the Lonely Pine — "Fields of Snow" (2010)
See also: The 100 Greatest St. Louis Songs
Cassie Morgan has long favored whispers to screams, so its no surprise that her Christmas offering comes in as soft as new-fallen snow. And its that very same snow that sets the scene for "Fields of Snow," which she and bandmate Beth Bombara recorded for the 2010 iteration of the Bert Dax Christmas compilation. The scene is bucolic and peaceful as Morgan sings of the spruce and fir trees that "light up the Bonnie sky" (that would be her hometown of Bonnie, Illinois). The whistling and toy piano plinks give the song a child-like feel, but the lyrics hint at some romantic rupture that maybe — just maybe — the magic of the season can help mend. "Seeing you reminds me of a truth I can't accept / you said all the right things, I pretended to be deaf," Morgan sings. But unlike the similarly pitched Joni Mitchell staple "River," this song seems to have a happy ending with promises of fruitcake and mistletoe.
Playlist Pairings: "Fields of Snow" would fit in right alongside Christmas cuts by John Fahey, Tracey Thorn and Emmylou Harris.
Caroling, Caroling: Morgan borrows a bit of the Christmas carol "O Holy Night" throughout, which helps ground it in the season while lending an air of solemnity to the track.
Music Television: Shot over the holidays back in Bonnie, Morgan's self-made video gives a picturesque view of southern Illinois under fresh snow.
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