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Need Fresh Music For The Holidays? Four Off-Beat Album Recommendations

Member of Peter Lamb and the Wolves
Peter Lamb
Peter Lamb and the Wolves

Peter Lamb and the Wolves know a great deal about community love and support. Their last two albums have been completely crowd-funded through Kickstarter. And although Peter Lamb says it doesn't alter the way they make music, he'll tell you it definitely turns up the heat. 

“It changes the way I view our fans. Our level of appreciation is way higher," Peter Lamb told The State of Things Host Frank Stasio. “If you don’t make the money, you don’t get any of it. We made it thank goodness, and then you have to produce something. And that is the stressful part: what if stinks? What if you do a bad job?"

But their fans are looking pretty satisfied. Peter Lamb and the Wolves make sophisticated arrangements of jazz, swing and blues from the roaring twenties to today.

Their holiday album recommendations are as varied and diverse as their own musical range:

1. A John Waters Christmas

"Have you ever heard this?" Bandmember Mark Wells asks. "Did you know he even had a Christmas album? It's: wow."

The album is a collection of songs from other musicians and it came out several years ago. John Waters currently is touring with a one-man Christmas show. Here's an excerpt of the Boston Globe review:

You might think the auteur behind “Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos” has some bizarre reason behind his Christmas fetish. He doesn’t. “I had a pretty functional upbringing,” he said. “But ever since the Christmas tree fell over on my grandmother I’ve loved Christmas. It happens a lot, trees falling over, and there are dire consequences. I think at the height of opening presents everyone should pick a number and the Christmas tree should fall on someone. Cut the wire and let it fall, it would avoid a lot of unexpected problems to get that out of the way.” (Full review here.)

2. Harry The Hipster Digs Christmas

Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson was a jazz pianist in the 20's and 30's. He was known for his way with the keyboard, and his vigorous singing style. The 1976 album featured two contrasting tracks: 'Twas The Night Before Christmas Boogie" and "Twas The Night After Christmas Boogie."

3. Merry Christmas, The Supremes

Mark Wells says: "I listened to this two or three times yesterday. Everybody sounds amazing on this record. Motown just did it to the max."

4. Ray Charles Christmas

Bandleader Peter Lamb did not hesitate when asked for his recommendation. Christmas and Ray Charles just go together. "I listened to Ray Charles Christmas like 4 times yesterday," Lamb says.

Peter Lamb ant the Wolves are a Raleigh-based band and they will be performing New Year's Eve party at the Casbah in Durham.  

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.