I have to start by confessing that I am not what you would call a "Christmas person". There is a subset of society that goes absolutely overboard starting the day after Halloween, and then there are the people that have to endure those people. I fall into the latter camp. So when jingle bells inevitably start working their way into my playlist, there's a part of me that internally groans. I was tasked by the good folks at Red River Nomad this year to review a Christmas song; they sent along "Christmas Without Her" by Matt Castillo. Not even a second into the song and there's those jingle bells... I figured I was in for a heavy dose of yuletide treacle, so I braced myself. What I was not expecting was the snap and spank of a Telecaster, clucking out a brisk honky tonk guitar line. I breathed a sigh of relief. The lyrical content is decidedly Christmas-themed, but in the most lighthearted way possible. Matt and co-writer Jason Allen have crafted witty, sadboi stomper about being left in the cold this year by a spurned lover. It's a classic country theme that's amplified by Aaron Eshuis' timeless production choices- the dueling Tele and pedal steel solo brings to mind Mike and The Moonpies when they're firing on all cylinders. This tune may not have turned me into a Christmas enthusiast, but it certainly has made me a Matt Castillo fan... and the song is so fun that if it comes on my playlist? I'll be sticking around for all two minutes and fifty six seconds of honky tonk joy.
"Christmas Without Her" is out NOW on all streaming platforms.
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