For the past several years, San Francisco’s Luke Sweeney has tried to kick off the holiday season by writing and recording a Christmas song with his buddy Roberto Pagano, and he’s back for another round this year. I’ll let Luke himself tell the story of 2017’s miraculous Christmas birth (of song):
This year, I wasn’t feeling inspired. I hadn’t a shred of an idea for the song until the day before our annual tradition was set to commence. I holed up in my studio for a bit and tinkered with a few melodies until I had a tiny skeleton tune to work with. The next day, I brought it over to Roberto’s apartment with a few instruments. Since there are there are precious few recording studios left in San Francisco, we recorded in a half-empty flat in the Mission – somewhat mirroring the ‘no room at the inn’ story of the first Christmas. We put the sounds together one by one, and once the beat was in motion I pulled images from Christmastime to juxtapose them with feelings of the ‘other’ or outsider in the lyrics. Sure enough, the song came to life, and we were giddy as elves. We decided to film a few scenes before putting all the recording toys away, then we sent the footage and song to a wise man, like they were surprise gifts of frankincense and myrrh. That wise man, our friend Robin, mastered the track and put the pieces of footage to music to make one weird holiday music video.
It’s not just a fantastically weird video, it’s one helluva dose of holiday cheer and a catchy tune to boot. I mean, throw in a children’s choir and it would feel perfectly natural next to rock star holiday tunes such as “Happy Christmas.” It’s sure to put a smile on your face and make you wish for snow and holiday leftovers:
You know what else will put a smile on your face? Luke’s December Thursday Night residency at Amnesia! For three weeks in December, Sweeney takes the warm Amnesia stage with some of the area’s finest talent. It kicks off tomorrow night with China and Sarah Bethe Nelson, followed by Latitude and the Smokin’ Ziggurats on the 14th. Luke tells me the first two installments are more about “ugly sweaters, gettin’ cozy with friends and enjoying good music and company,” while his final night on December 21 showcases the “SMiLE! Christmas Extravaganza” featuring a host of local musicians singing nothing but holiday tunes. If you’re lucky enough to be in town, swing on over to Valencia for a special San Francisco night.
Luke Sweeney, Sarah Bethe Nelson, China
December 7, 2017
Luke Sweeney, Latitude, Smokin’ Ziggurats
December 14, 2017
Luke Sweeney and the SMiLE! Christmas Extravaganza
December 21, 2017