For the second year in a row we invited Austin artists to perform their favorite holiday songs in the Austin360 Studio. Folk Uke stopped by to play “All I Want for Christmas.”
Some of the songs on Folk Uke’s new EP released earlier this year are, well,not fit for a family newspaper. But lo and behold, there’s a holiday song, and it needs no bleeps on the radio! The closest they come to their customary cursing is that line about the two-timing Santa: “I saw you with your ho, ho,ho/ Underneath the mistletoe.”
Like most of the songs that Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie write, the humorous lyrics that lace the melody serve as a sharp-edged counterpoint to the natural sweetness of their vocal blend. It’s kind of a family trait, for both of them: Nelson’s dad is a guy named Willie, and Guthrie’s pop is a fellow named Arlo. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
Nelson and Guthrie hope fans will allow them to stand on their own merits with Folk Uke, though they understand that their parents are a point of interest. Plus, it’s another opportunity for humor.
“I think we’ve influenced our dads’ music in a lot of ways,” Nelson says.There’s about a three-second pause before both of them break up into hysterical giggles.
“You were totally straight-faced when you said it,” Guthrie congratulates her friend and bandmate.
Their holiday song is a sad one, though it’s probably something that many listeners will find relatable. “All I want for Christmas” sounds hopeful, until you hear the rest of the line: “… is you to leave.”
“It’s pretty much an ‘I need my space’ song that borrows from the worst experiences over the entirety of my dating and married life,” says Nelson, who wrote it. “All of it is true except for the mistletoe.”
The band name comes from Nelson and Guthrie bonding over ukulele, though Nelson now plays acoustic guitar. Often their friend Randy Weeks accompanies them on a hollow-body electric, including in our holiday video.
They hope this Christmas season goes more smoothly than a recent Easter Sunday show they played in Aspen. “Just tell one Jesus joke on Easter and it’s over,” Nelson laments, and they both laugh at the memory. The joke? “If your resurrection lasts for more than four hours, call your doctor.” — P.B.