When Randy Sabien picks up his violin, get ready.

New CD - Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

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I wrote my first Christmas song, "Boogie Woogie Christmas" in 1996 while preparing for my inaugural appearance in J.R. Sullivan's "Hometown Holiday" staged in Rockford, IL.

Pat Donohue sang it on Prairie Home Companion the following year and the famous children's cartoon character, Arthur, included an abridged version on his first PBS holiday special.

Every year since, I have written new songs, parodies, and arrangements for the season usually starting at the last minute towards the end of November. And every year the audience asks if I've released a Christmas album. My standard response is "I would have to start thinking about it in May and I typically avoid thoughts of Christmas from Dec. 26 to November 30 so it's unlikely it will ever happen."

But this Spring I found myself with some time on my hands and a modest budget so I booked a studio, called some musicians, and dug out my holiday charts.

You may be familiar with some of the fine musicians who joined me:

Chris Bates - Bass
Greg Beyers - Cello
Corey Carlson - Vocals
Andy Dee - Guitar, Lap steel, Vocals, Bells a'ringlin'
Jay Epstein - Drums
Jay Fuchs - Piano
Mary Louise Knutson - Piano
Joe Lindzius - Drums, Vocals
Gary Raynor - Bass
Mike Salow - Guitar
Dave Schmalenberger - Drums
Erin Schwab - Vocals
Ed Willet - Cello, Bass, Vocals

You'll hear me on violin, piano, mandolin, rhythm guitar, vocals, and bells a'ringin'.

So back in July, while you were relaxing at the lake with your gin and tonic, my fellow bandmates holed up in a sweltering studio with a broken air conditioner and laid down take after take of songs about snow, bells, mistletoe, egg nog, and Santa Claus. And now, finally, here it is. Merry Christmas!

- Randy Sabien

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