The last year or so has seen Dallas' country-folker Ronnie Fauss gather musch-deserved praise from across the country for his 2012 full-length debut I am the Man You Know I'm Not. With 2014 fast approaching, Fauss and the folks at Normaltown Records, an imprint of Americana giant New West Records, decided it was time to release a new song to match the holiday season.
While a duet with label-mate Lily Hiatt of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" might've been a cute little dittie (their cover of Gram Parson's "Sin City" on Fauss' LP is simply killer), it wouldn't be a proper representation of the humor and storytelling capabilities Fauss excels in. An original song was needed to add to the canon of Christmas tunes. As a result, "Everybody Deserves a Merry Christmas" was born.
As is the case with many a song, the idea for this unusual tune just revealed itself to Fauss.
"Last year during the holidays, what would become the first line of this song -- 'Well it's Christmas in the jailhouse again, and I've been looking all around for a face to call a friend' -- just popped into my head out of nowhere," explains Fauss. "I'm not sure where it came from, I wasn't in jail at the moment, and I consider myself lucky in the friend department - the line just happened, I guess. I liked it, so I chased it and it turned into a song pretty quickly. I was listening to a lot of Todd Snider at the time, so it started coming out as kind of an irreverent, jangly, Hill Country tune. It's the story of a down-on-his-luck dude, trying to have a good Christmas in-spite of himself."
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As has been the case with all of his previous recordings, Fauss enlisted the help of some talented, local friends in the forms of Eric Neal, Chad Stockslager, Shannon Barrett, Bill Spellman and Chris Norwood. As the recording progressed though, Fauss found more help to give the song just the right, irreverant mood he was seeking to make this tune different from so much of the Holiday-themed pablum that's out there.
"In the end it was a real cool, collaborative effort, with lots of talented folks contributing insightful ideas. For the finishing touch, I rounded up some buddies and we spent an evening in an East Dallas garage drinking whiskey and singing the chorus over and over again to add a gang-vocal effect. Everyone involved did a great job, and I'm very proud of how it turned out."