John Oates earned a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame through his decades-long partnership with Daryl Hall, but he’s swinging into the holiday season with a new collaboration – this time with Nashville’s celebrated band, the Time Jumpers. The original version of “Santa Be Good to Me” was penned by Oates with Josh Charles, Steven Davis and Allisa Moreno and inspired by the Christmas music Oates heard growing up in his family’s home outside Philadelphia.
“So much has been said when it comes to holiday songs, there is a very narrow frame of references that work in this genre,” Oates says of the mellow Yuletide tune about the pursuit of holiday romance, given a lyric video treatment that’s a clever combination of Christmas tradition and modern technology. “I’ve always wanted to write and record a swing-style song. We tried to write a contemporary lyric talking about trying to find love and companionship in a modern world and still not lose the holiday spirit.”
Now living in Music City, Oates released a DVD devoted to American roots music, Another Good Road, in 2015. His Christmas tune with the Time Jumpers features group members Vince Gill (electric guitar), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Brad Albin (upright bass), Billy Thomas (drums), Kenny Sears (fiddle), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Joe Spivey (fiddle) Andy Reiss (electric guitar) and Jeff Taylor (accordion).
“The first time I heard them perform I was blown away by their high level of musicianship and knew someday I wanted to record with them,” says the singer, whose recordings with Daryl Hall included the duo’s version of the holiday classic, “Jingle Bell Rock.” “‘Santa Be Good to Me’ felt like the perfect song to work on together. We recorded it live in the studio. . . it was magic. . . everything I hoped for and more.”
“Santa Be Good to Me” is now available at digital retailers and at Oates’ website as a limited-edition vinyl single. The vinyl version will also include the traditional holiday tune, “Children Go Where I Send Thee” as the b-side.