Christmas may be a time to bring loved ones together, but it also has a long history of inspiring love-hate songs — especially in country music. Bloodshoot Records has seized on this proud tradition with 13 Days of Xmas, a new holiday compilation that includes songs by the Yawpers, Ron Gallo and Ha Ha Tonka, along with Nashville singer-songwriter Zach Schmidt's "I'm Drunk Again This Christmas."
Appropriately enough, Schmidt tells Rolling Stone Country that he was at a bar when he received the request from Bloodshot to write the song – then promptly forgot about it. "I immediately thought about my distaste for Christmas and how, for a lot of people, it is often a terrible time of year," he says about finally sitting down to compose the song. "So I decided to write about what I thought was a stereotypical American Christmas: a family who doesn't really care for each other but is there anyway because it is Christmas."
Set in Schmidt's hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the track – with American Aquarium member Adam Kurtz on pedal steel – features several irritating relatives, some awkward conversations about climate change, and a family prayer asking a win in the football game. After mixing a stomach-turning variety of alcohols, he ends cheekily with the line, "Hope my family never hears this song."
"This song definitely comes from personal experience, but I changed the names in the song to protect the guilty parties," Schmidt says. He does clarify, however, "My poor dad got called out only because it was a good rhyme not because he drives me to drink."
Besides Schmidt, 13 Days of Xmas features 12 other artists from the Bloodshot stable, including Murder by Death, Jon Langford, Ruby Boots, and All Our Exes Live in Texas. The record will be released November 17th and Schmidt, who released his most recent LP, The Day We Lost the War, in 2016, will head out on a short run of shows the following day.
Here's his scheduled tour dates:
November 18 – Burlington, VT @ Sidebar
November 22 – Providence, RI @ The Grange
November 24 – Kingston, RI @ The Pumphouse Music Works
November 25 – Gloucester, MA @ Katrina's
November 26 – Westerly, RI @ Knickerbocker Tap Room
Here's the full track listing for 13 Days of Xmas:
1. "O Holy Night" - Murder by Death
2. "Papa Barrence's Christmas - Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
3. "Chrismas Carol, Christmas Ray" - Jon Langford and His Men of Gwent
4. "I Slept Through Christmas" - Ruby Boots
5. "The List" - Ha Ha Tonka
6. "Christmas is Now Drawing Near at Hand" - James Elkington
7. "Dark Christmas" - Dex Rowember Duo
8. "Blue Snowfall" - Kelly Hogan
9. "The Pagans Had It Right" - Devil in a Woodpile
10. "I'm Drunk Again This Christmas" - Zach Schmidt
11. "How to Make Gravy" - All Our Exes Live in Texas
12. "White Christmas" - Ron Gallo
13. "Christmas in Oblivion" - The Yawpers