James Harris is based in the Black Country and spends his time writing songs and singing – amongst other creative endeavours. With the time allowed by the pandemic Harris has been creating highly personable songs on a near industrial scale; they are not scared of hard work in the Black Country. For our festive delectation Harris has forged a Christmas EP from the raw materials to hand: life and an acoustic guitar.
Behind the first door of our advent calendar…
The opening track Snow man is aheart-felt lament for the aforementioned snowman. A metaphor for so much more than a figure made from compacted snow; the track works on a number of levels and the meaning may need thawing out first. The phrase “standing guard” hints at the large rotund snow ball representing a protecting presence maybe? Or perhaps the erstwhile motif represents a wintery Christmas when the singer asks: “Please stick around for as long as you can”? Otherwise, for the contented, the song is a celebration of just goofing around in the snow, either way, it’s not a problem.
How many memorable Christmas songs focus on a challenging issue? Greg Lake sang about the impact on the environment. Fairy tale of New York dealt with a seemingly abusive relationship. Lockdown Christmas by Harris is a song focusing on the inevitable impact of lockdown and the loss of subsequent freedoms. However, humour is induced at the prospect of Santa receiving a “fine” for breaking the law and the rhyming lines ensure a little fun is introduced into the metre of the song. Although, the seriousness of the situation is captured in the insistence that you “gotta show loved ones you care.” Don’t forget, even Wham’s Last Christmas was really about unrequited love, the theme of many a song…
(Christmas is Cosy) in the West Country is a genuine folk song which focuses on a traditional and geographic love affair: a love affair with an elusive partner and a love affair with the West Country. The language is of the smitten, savouring every breath and getting caught up in the moment. As we know emotions are heightened at Yuletide and the setting of the song against this season is self-explanatory. The act of walking “hand in hand” in this “green and pleasant land” is a romantic gesture most can appreciate and it is clear the West Country(side) is helping fuel the romantic mood. The path of true love never did run smooth but neither does the Christmas period?
In Blightythe Classic Christmas is mocked and embraced in equal measure. Our Xmas tradition of obsessing over TV listings – “Well, there’s nothing but a load of repeats on this year!” – gorging too much food and family squabbles over board games is for many the status quo. Perhaps we wouldn’t want it any other way if we are honest? James Harris has amplified what most think of Christmas and crafted a song which is unashamed in its portrayal of our Classic Christmas. Indeed, it is not Christmas until we hear Noddy “scream loud…it’s Christmas!” James just omitted to include a line about having chocolate for breakfast that’s all…but he has been rather busy of late.
Don’t believe me? Check out his band camp page: https://jamesharrismusic.bandcamp.com/
By: The Swilgate Scuttler