Don’t get them wrong, Bill and the Belles love the holidays. They live for gatherings of family and friends, snow days, sparkles and cheer, as evidenced by their fourth year hosting the Johnson City Jingle Bell Jamboree (a holiday roots music review), and their annual holiday music videos that come out each December.
But this year’s video is different: Smile, It’s Christmas reminds us that the holidays ain’t just eggnog and mistletoe. Sometimes the world loudly expects joy and cheer when you just don’t have any to give. Written by Kris Truelsen, Smile, It’s Christmas delivers downbeat material in an upbeat way, with the ironic wit of Roger Miller and a vocal arrangement nodding toward Phil Spector-level lushness. Fans of Bill and the Belles know the band’s knack for making simple, refreshing music videos, and Smile, It’s Christmas definitely delivers: against a peppermint backdrop, the trio toys with contrasts, giving viewers a little bitter with their sweet.
The video also marks the debut of banjo player and singer Helena Hunt in the band. From Waynesville, North Carolina, Hunt grew up steeped in traditional music and went through the region’s Junior Appalachian Musicians program. Currently attending East Tennessee State University studying Biology and Old Time music, Helena is a wonderful vocalist, a force on the banjo and banjo ukulele, and a total delight to watch and hear.
Learn more about Bill and the Belles online.