Music News

‘Tis the season for holiday music new and old– and two of our favorite artists are providing some of the new.

Kurt Vile
has contributed a track to a new Spotify Singles compilation that was first released by Mitch Miller in 1960, but probably best known by the version Bob Dylan recorded for his 2009 album, Christmas in the Heart.

“When I was asked to be on this Christmas compilation, they said “you can do any Christmas song you want, as long as it’s not repeated by somebody else on this series.” I thought it was nice of them to invite me, but I didn’t know if I could pull off a Christmas song! Then my mind jumped to when John Agnello showed me the Bob Dylan version of “Must Be Santa” while we were making the Smoke Ring for My Halo record. It’s a really hilarious video (he showed me that first), and it shows a rambunctious Christmas party. Bob Dylan has a wig on, and someone goes flying through a window. All this time, I thought it was Bob Dylan’s song. It’s really catchy, and he makes it his own as he usually does. I figured if I can do Dylan’s “Must Be Santa,” if that’s not taken, it’s a sign… I thought I’d do an acoustic version and have my daughters sing backup, but then it turned into more of a weird synth version with their vocals, which is really the hook. I figured Bob wouldn’t hear it, but I still wanted to do it justice, and once I got my daughters singing with me I hoped he would at least like it. Now I know… he loves it. Merry Christmas, Bob Dylan!”

Listen to Vile’s version of “Must Be Santa”…

Rosie Thomas has also shared a yuletide offering featuring someone who is no stranger to Christmas music: Sufjan Stevens.

“Christmas can be a bittersweet time, and the world can feel hopeless and lonely fairly often, but there’s some kind of magic around Christmas that brings hope and togetherness, or at least that possibility, which I guess is hope. Though this story is framed within a relationship, the larger themes and longings are more universal. We all need hope, and we need each other. The song started with my husband. He had the melody and arrangement and even the chorus. Together we worked on the verses. We’re a pretty great writing team, which just naturally came together over time, and has been really enjoyable. We finish eachother’s… sandwiches. This song’s a beauty, and it was great having Sufjan hop in and make it even richer of course—our little Christmas miracle himself.”

Check out Rosie Thomas and Sufjan Stevens with “We Should Be Together”…


Keep up with the artists making headlines when you listen to our online stream.


Mel is the WFPK morning host.