Adam Powell doesnt hate Christmas. In fact, he loves it. A member of indie-folk band Adams and Eves and a volunteer at the University Heights DIY venue The Park Gallery, he gets nostalgic for the holidays and longs for the merriment.
Alas, some of Powells friends do hate Christmas.
I know a lot of people who are very anti-Christmas because of the capitalism side of it, he says. It comes holiday season, and theyre, like, I hate this.
Five years ago, Powell came up with an idea to spread some Christmas cheer. Instead of scrambling to buy presents, he put out a call to his friends asking them to record a holiday song. He ended up with 16 tracks of originals and traditionals—including a twinkly tune Powell wrote himself— and released them on a compilation CD, The Christmas Friends, that he gave out to friends and family.
The response was so positive that hes assembled a new volume of the compilation almost every year since (he took a break in 2011). This years version—which you can download for free at thechristmasfriends.bandcamp.com— features contributions from local bands like Sledding with Tigers along with non-locals like Stocktons A Movable West.
Powell accepts any songs with a general holiday theme, and hes rarely turned a track down. Hes also reached out to Jewish friends, though hes yet to receive a Hanukkah song. This years offerings range from wacky to heartfelt. One of the most delightful is Anachronisms Get Behind Me Santa, in which Mr. Claus reassures a skeptical youngster that hes just another regular guy. Meanwhile, Red Pony Clocks tropical-tinged Im Coming Out on Christmas playfully depicts a young man telling his parents hes gay.
To Powell, The Christmas Friends is as much about gift-receiving as it is about holiday music.
This is really just my Christmas present for myself, is everybody sending me music, he says. My special treat is I get to listen to these songs before everybody else does.