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Dec 11, 2009

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Trashy Little Xmas

Trashy Little Xmas

Alt country band wishes you a trashy little Christmas

If all holiday concerts could be wrapped and placed under a big Christmas tree, most would be adorned with pretty paper and big bows. Then there’d be that one wrapped in newspaper and tied up in yarn that makes you realize what the season is all about. Its tag would read, “A Trashy Little XMas Show” from Trailer Trash.

The honkytonk, alternative country band Trailer Trash was formed 16 years ago by six Twin Cities music veterans who’d reached the point where they were ready to say goodbye to the trappings of the music industry and just play music.

“We got this group together as an opportunity to play and not worry about touring and trying to get popular,” singer and guitarist Nate Dungan said.

And play they did, with a weekly gig at Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis. “The story of Trailer Trash is a love affair between a band a bar,” Dungan said of their relationship, which continues today.

Yet playing week in and week out meant the band had to find a way to keep things fresh.

“In order for you to be entertained, we have to be entertained,” Dungan said.

So 12 years ago they came up with the idea for “A Trashy Little XMas Show,” which is part holiday cheer and part revenge against commercialism, Dungan said.

“It’s a chance for people to party and have a rocking Christmas time with a little bit of reverence.”

Nobody, he said, was more surprised at its popularity than the band.

This year the band added more holiday concerts than ever before, including one in Rochester as part of the Americana Showcase, which is the first time Trailer Trash will play the show outside of Lee’s.

There will be many of the Lee’s traditions though, including no set list and the “jingle stick,” Trailer Trash’s own invention, a hub cap with bells on it mounted on a broom stick that when banged up and down makes what Dungan describes as “a horrible jingle-jangly racket, that makes any song sound like a Christmas song.”

Trailer Trash will also be bringing two new CDs, “Smash Hits” and the band’s third Christmas album “Nutcrackers,” which is anything but the typical, canned Christmas music.

“It’s almost a violation of the sanctity of the holiday to hear these horrifically, bad versions of Christmas songs,” Dungan said.

That’s why they recorded their own.

“It’s our attempt,” he said, “to play Christmas music that sounds normal — not over produced or under produced, just right.”

Kind of like the music that would fit Dungan’s homespun memories of Christmas. “I think of my mom stringing popcorn on the tree. Not many people do that anymore,” he said.

That simplicity and joy is something to celebrate.

“Really the older you get, the more you realize Christmas is about the kids,” he continued. “The good feelings of family and friendship when you are really young, those are very precious. The older you get, the more you know marketing and commercialism erode those good memories.”

That’s where a Trashy Little XMas comes in, Dungan said. “This is an attempt to give adults a play date to enjoy Christmas again.”

By Christina Killion Valdez
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

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