Christian Serpas has always wanted to record a Christmas collection. The rock-and-country singer-songwriter and his band, Ghost Town, finally make his holiday dream come true with Rockin’ ol’ Christmas. The three-song EP features two Serpas originals and a pumped-up rendition of Elvis Presley’s Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller–penned classic, “Santa Claus Is Back in Town.”
The Santa who Serpas sings about in “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” makes it clear, howling included, that he wants loving for Christmas. Because the song’s double entendre–mined lyrics are so obvious, maybe it’s a Christmas miracle that Presley got away with “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” back in 1957. It’s the opening song on Elvis’ Christmas Album, the inspired holiday long-player that includes “Blue Christmas.” Serpas’ and Ghost Town’s interpretation turns the juice on high, emphasizing the rock in their country-rock style. George Neyrey’s standout electric guitar riffs throughout. Bassist Don Williams and drummer Jeff Oteri join the high-spirited sleigh ride.
Accompanied by ringing, harmonized twin-guitar leads, Serpas turns earnest in “Last Christmas.” It’s a bittersweet pop-rock original. “Last Christmas was a bad Christmas, I know,” he sings apologetically. “With me so far away and us on the phone.” Expressing regret about Christmases past, Serpas promises his lady love that painful separation during holidays won’t happen again. “No more winking on a falling star,” he sings. “I’ll be wherever you are.”
Title song “Rockin’ ol’ Christmas” is the EP’s most country-rocking selection. Besides being good music for a Christmas party, “Rockin’ ol’ Christmas” shows the band’s punk-rock, hard-rock and even British invasion influences. The Ramones, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles are all deftly referenced.