Merry Christmas from the Family is a very special song to me, so special that I kept it all to myself, not even telling Jim about it until one late night, I revealed it like a precious secret I was worried no one else could see the value of. That night we laid on the floor and I put the song on repeat until it was bed time. It all sounds rosy and cozy and precious until you know that this Robert Earl Keen song is, at heart, a red neck novelty song about how the holiday has come to mean trips to “to the Quickpak Store. We need some ice and an extension chord. A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites. A box of tampons, Marlboro Lights”
But really, it's more than it seems. I have even said that it has the kind of insight that the best of Bruce exemplifies; insight into what families can really be like, warts and all, and how the Christmas spirit and traditions of greeting cards have been replaced with new traditions that may not be as dreamy and ideal but are what the season has become about – spending time with the family – whoever they end up being.
I may be making too much of the whole thing, but there's got to be something there, beneath the redneck humor (of which I am usually never a fan of) and the twangy traditional country sound (that I usually am a fan of). It just takes me to hanging out in Jim's old garage with his brother, dad, and extended family and that makes me feel good.