Music Monday: Christmas in Carolina- Chuck Phillips

Christmas in Carolina Chuck Phillips

We have a blog series called, “Music Monday,” here on Arner Adventures. Since music creates a soundtrack for our day-to-day living, it only makes sense.

Christmas in Carolina, the new EP from Chuck Phillips, to be released December 3rd, is a holiday gift to his adoring fans. The EP includes three holiday songs that are sure to be on the Christmas party playlist for years to come. 

“Christmas in Carolina” leads off this three song set and is delivered in a manner that allows you to feel the songwriter’s deep appreciation for his eastern North Carolina roots. Phillips wrote and produced all of the material, backed up by a talented group of musicians. “Christmas in Carolina” is warm and inviting, with its slow blues style, reminiscent of that Chris Stapleton song from a few years back (the one that everyone knows). The lyrics are straightforward and very descriptive, taking you right to that place of what a Carolina Christmas feels like, from the mountains to the coast. The song breaks down beautifully in the middle with a piano melody and lush backing vocals from Shannon Kendall and Caroline Peck, that gives it that little extra edge and draws the listener further in. 

Like a good entertainer, Santa amuses the locals by using the regional vernacular. Not to disappoint, while flying from Boone to Ocracoke and all Carolina points in between, Santa shouts “Merry Christmas y’all,” to the delight of all watching below. I’ve heard personal accounts where Santa has exclaimed, “Yous have a Merry Christmas”, when flying over the industrial landscapes of northern New Jersey. While flying over western Pennsylvania, it’s not unusual to hear the bearded one say, “Yuns have a Merry Christmas and go Steelers!” This song is tailor made for a North Carolina tourism ad. I challenge you to find something better! 

The record continues to get better with “That’s True Love”, a gorgeous love song with string arrangements and a harmonica solo that makes for a pleasant listen. The song is cinematic in its scope and displays a romanticism and sentimentality that Chuck does so well! “Holding hands like a scene on the silver screen”, offers a snippet of where Chuck draws much of his inspiration, the silver screen! Like “Greta Garbo” from this year’s Act I: Scene II, he draws much from old movies. He’s an old soul of sorts, and that lends itself well to his music, particularly on these holiday songs.

 Christmas has passed and it’s time to ring in the New Year. “Midnight” does just that! The song plays to the spirit of early rock and roll, and is built around a strolling baseline offered up by bandmate Sonny Fields. Newcomer Brian Burke offers some handy guitar work that complements the song perfectly.

Christmas in Carolina offers the perfect holiday dessert to complement the main course, that being 2021’s amazing Act I:Scene II. Holiday meals aren’t all about the turkey as Chuck “hams” it up at the conclusion of “Midnight”, reminiscent of “Party Down the Street” from Act I:Scene II. Like many of us at year’s end, Chuck resolves to be better in the new year. Among his resolutions is to get out more and finally go to that party down the street he’s routinely invited to. Probably not this holiday weekend as there’s a Colombo Marathon starring iconic TV actor Peter Falk running all weekend long. Well, maybe next time!

Merry Christmas y’all and to all a goodnight! 

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