Christmas songs tend to roll around and infect our holidays with a gloopy side-order of nostalgia and hackneyed platitudes. It’s long been time to usher in some fresh blood on that score, and so – here we have Rob Georg’s When I Make It Home For Christmas.
The idea behind this festive missive is that it’s being delivered from the perspective of a soldier anticipating his return home from a foreign posting. As a character piece, therefore, it uses the vernacular of the soldier, and that means it’s got a very direct narrative that even the casual listener can instantly relate to.
Georg’s thoughtful and careworn, creaking vocal (which also harmonises sweetly with itself) delivers the story with a tender touch that seems to neatly sidestep any accusations of cliché that could so easily be applied to this genre. It certainly allows him to be able to deliver the line ‘Feels like I’m half a world away’ without the usual metaphorical intention – it’s meant literally!
There are also plenty of other moments where there are multiple layers of meaning behind familiar phrases that have been cleverly woven through the piece – the survival of a tour of duty implied by the title, to name just a single, very moving one.
Musically, the gentle country-rock format of acoustics, bass and strings is augmented by the roll of a military style snare – clever. Patriotism and love, family and service, gratitude and longing – all mashed together without a sleigh bell in sight!