Rising Stars [Issue
Christmas With the Devil By
Christmas In July
Century Of Progress)
Elves in leather.
Angels in chains. No bells in hell, no snow below.
in flames? Sounds like Christmas images from a nightmare, or in
this case, a few lines from Christmas with the Devil,
the first track on Judith Owens melancholy, yet serene Christmas
I have a great love of arranging rock anthems, says
Owen. The first one I did was a Dave Brubeck Take 5ish Blackhole
Sun. Its still a hugely popular song. In fact, Chris
Cornells (former singer/frontman of Seattles Soundgarden)
mother is a bit of a fan. This time around Owen selected a
Spinal Tap tune as a vehicle for a jazzy piano-bass-vocal enclave.
I like taking a stupid, idiotic, most irreverent song and
doing it straight, groovy, and hip with the idiotic words coming
through, says Owen. The joke is doubly funny if you
commit 100%. It is pointless if you join in on the gag.
Owens desire to record a Christmas CD stems from her nostalgic,
melancholy Welsh heritage. Im not a gratuitous sentimentalist,
explains Owen. I hate Christmas stuff that makes you want
to retch. In this collection of songs, Christmas with
the Devil serves as the irreverent jewel on the crown
to make it all possible.
The reason we love Christmas songs is because they are incredibly
timeless and powerful, says Owen. Each year, Harry (Shearer,
her husband) and I use Christmas as a massive excuse to cram a hundred
people into our tiny cottage and sing in harmony. After living
in the UK, Owen used to expect cold, bitter weather hiding
outside. Now, I am usually at the beach bodysurfing in the water.
As big as the albums impact might be for both Owen and her
audience, the whole album consists of merely six sincerely selected
songs. It was meant to be a tiny little tease, says
Owen. It was never meant to be big and laborious and drawn
out. It is warm and sad and completely irreverent. Its a small,
perfectly formed package. Not wanting to make it a major event,
Owen characterizes the album as a stocking filler.
Owens lyrics whimsically fly off the tip of her tongue. They
gently strike eardrums in the same way wet snowflakes vacillate
between a near future fate of snow or droplet when falling at a
temperature of 32° F. Through depression and darkness, her humor
quells glum, grey gloom.
I love Christmas and I am destroyed by it every year,
says Owen. Similarly, Owen sings deep and intense songs when performing,
but offers an effervescent quirkiness when speaking in between.
There is a switch inside me that flicks on and off.
In total control of this switch, Owen offsets the dark and intense
with witty humor.
So often during this time of year, the pressure and expectation
are so high. We may get depressed and feel alone, Owen sighs
hopefully. And yet, the flip side is of course the most phenomenal,
wonderful, fabulous experience if you remember whats important.
Christmas In July
Century Of Progress