One day on last year’s Advent Calendar I played two songs that were very much in reflective mode. For me, they worked well as a complementary pairing, so I thought I’d partner them again this year. It is the weekend, after all, and perhaps time to relax and recharge our batteries. Nether were new choices even last year, but both are great and I think they merit their repeat airings. I would apologise for that but even if you remember them I’m hoping you agree with me. Neither has been released as a single, so they probably aren’t widely known – that improves my chances! I am also giving you a bonus today: I’ve decided to share again the entire set of the four wonderful Hafod Hardware ads, and am beginning today with their first, from 2017.
This first one is from one of my favourite musicians. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I can appreciate that the meaning of this time of year may have become a little lost. Here’s a reminder:
The video that someone has compiled for this track is inspired. The images match perfectly with the beauty of Jackson Browne’s lyrics, which should prompt us all to consider our beliefs and our behaviours. Religion can be a wonderful support for people, but it can also be damaging and divisive. In a world which has so much division we need to heed lessons like this one. Although this was Jackson’s song it first appeared as a guest performance on The Bells Of Dublin, an album of seasonal songs released by The Chieftains in 1991. This song was first released under Jackson’s name as a single in 1997, to promote his first ‘Best Of’ album, The Next Voice You Hear: I think it is stunning.
Today’s second song is from another of my favourites. This one is actually a retelling of the Nativity and is also accompanied by a lovely video that has been made for it by a fan:
As I said, I’m not religious but the first time I heard this was while I was driving. I had to pull over, as it isn’t really safe to drive when tears are springing to your eyes. It still has that effect on me: even more so when I played it last year, as I was awaiting nervously the birth of my second granddaughter – who celebrates her first birthday this coming Thursday. This was the closing track on Steve Earle’s third album, Copperhead Road: I’ve always loved the album, which is probably still my favourite of his, though it has some stiff competition! The harmony vocals are from Maria McKee, formerly of the band Lone Justice, and who is best known in the UK for her 1990 #1 hit Show Me Heaven.
I promised you a rerun of the Hafod Hardware saga. You may recall that they went viral a couple of years ago with one of their Christmas ads: no mean feat for a local shop in a small town in mid-Wales. This is from 2017, when it all began:
Like all of them, that is lovely in the simple but very effective way in which it conveys its message, and it still brings a tear to my eye when I see it again now. It also has that nice little nod in the direction of The Two Ronnies, which might be more meaningful for British readers than others – if you need a clue, here is their sketch. As I have said before, I think Hafod Hardware really do put to shame the big budget extravaganzas that most of our retailers indulge themselves in. As with all of their ads, the music is from the beautiful voice of Andrea Von Kampen.
That’s all for today, apart from my usual parting shot:
See you again tomorrow, with the first of this year’s Advent Sunday specials🪅