Boston-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Toby Soriero with his band Rosedale Junction have released a self-penned holiday audio and video single, “Sleigh Bell Blues.” A highlight in the 2021 blues calendar was their sensational debut album, Stompin’ on the Front Porch, a cornucopia of Americana, country, bluegrass, blues and rock ‘n’ roll.
As far as Christmas singles go, this is about as far removed as possible from Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Cliff Richard’s “Mistletoe and Wine.” In the true tradition and style of a Delta blues song, Soriero has written a lament of what Christmas now represents. A dark atmosphere is created by Trent Williamson’s superb wailing harmonica and the laconic, perturbed vocal delivery of Dgiovahni Denizevahni. Toby plays various percussion instruments, including sleigh bells, which complement his dynamic resonant guitar tones and Roger Smith’s piercing, flowing piano keys.
Soriero’s lyrics express regret that it has been such a long time since he heard sleigh bells ring and stood in a church to sing as he pleads, “just give me one more Christmas”, because “Santa don’t come round here, I wish he would.” This reminiscent, heart-breaking journey through a bleak and cold snowscape by a sad, lone figure in a reindeer-pulled sleigh is brought to life by the animator Scuba Steve. Christmas in this town is all about “partying in the barn”, going home and passing out. However, hope comes with the final wish, “Jesus come and save me, try with all your might,” followed by a few uplifting bars of “Jingle Bells.”
Lyrics by Toby Soriero
Animation: Scuba Steve Art
Center Block Records
Streamed on Spotify and other music platforms