Joseph Arthur has had a remarkable career, flying slightly under the mainstream radar but flirting with it—and big stars—consistently. He first came to the public consciousness as the first American signing to Peter Gabriel’s Real World label way back in 1996, and Arthur has released a deep catalog on various labels since. His tenth is this year’s The Ballad Of Boogie Christ, a sorta-concept album full of rich narratives and richer instrumentation that features guest turns from the likes of Ben Harper and Garth Hudson. Speaking of guest star power: Arthur’s current touring trio features a familiar face on bass and backing vocals, Mike Mills of R.E.M. The song they chose for this year’s Holiday Undercover was made famous by John Denver: “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” was featured on his 1975 album Rocky Mountain Christmas.
Cheap Girls cover Counting Crows' "A Long December"
Wild Beasts cover Madonna's "Frozen"
Shonen Knife covers "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"
Drive-By Truckers cover Greg Lake
Ashley Monroe covers Joni Mitchell
Laura Stevenson covers Elliott Smith
Craig Finn and Esmé Patterson cover Low
Into It. Over It. covers “Assassination On X-Mas Eve”
Harry Shearer and Judith Owen cover Spinal Tap’s “Christmas With The Devil”
Gruff Rhys covers “If I Had The World To Give”
Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets cover “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”
The World Is… covers “What Child Is This?”