Christmas and holiday music can range from sentimental to instrumental, from joy to coy. The new single, “Christmas on Cellblock 9” from See Your Shadow Songwriting is definitely merry, and a lot of comedy. This catchy, country rock holiday tune is easy to hum along to, and the storyline is not what you expected. Prepare yourself for a clever, cheeky Christmas carol.
The man behind See Your Shadow Songwriting is Columbus, Ohio’s Michael Coleman. His birthday is Groundhog Day. Now based in Phoenix, Arizona, Coleman or “The Metropolitan Cowboy” writes with vivid imagery. The previous releases “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” charted No. 1 on the iTunes Country Songs chart in South Africa, as did the follow-up “My Worth”. His press materials note that Coleman is the first songwriter in Ohio to be nominated as poet laureate for the State of Ohio. Coleman doesn’t sing on the tracks, but rather chooses a variety of singers from his ‘stable’.
The male vocalist singing on “Christmas on Cellblock 9” has a very clear, natural for country sounding delivery. He’s gifted with a natural charm. The song starts out with some sleigh bells, and jumps right into the story of being pulled over by the police on the side of the road (the singer is walking home on Christmas Eve) and in a case of mistaken identity, arrested and unable to post bail. The song’s protagonist has a pretty good sense of ‘awe shucks’ and doesn’t sound angry at all in this Christmas tale. There are some very funny zingers like it was not a silent night…my mug shot on a Christmas card. The undercurrent of steady percussion and a whopping’ rocking’ electric guitar that slays a country-tinged melody. He sings with a very warm cadence. The chorus includes the irresistible lines decking the walls behind concrete walls, tell bubba no means no under the mistletoe…I definitely found myself tapping my toes and nodding my head along to the melody. I loved the line stocking stuffers had a whole new meaning, too. I think I know what he’s saying, but maybe I’m looking at it from a PG-point-of-view. Oh, too fun.
I think Coleman is fantastic at creating a visual to this song. Country fans will certainly rejoice when they hear this track. It’s pretty snug to a modern country song, but with a tap of the hat to the old-school storytelling. I’m not saying it’s Waylon Jennings or Merle Haggard outlaw, but I love that Coleman pushes some limits with his lyrics. The more I listened to the song, the more the melody and the fun factor came at me. This is definitely an earworm song. I can easily see this song being played at Christmas parties and hitting the bar scene and everyone raising their beer bottles to cheer along. This song brings you joy in a mysterious way and musically it’s a great country rock foundation. Other than using ‘Christmas’ in the lyrics and the sleigh bells ringing, if you isolate the music, it’s a fantastic country song for any time of the year.