Snowball from Charm City Junction is a Christmas treat

Snowball is an apt image for the winter months, especially for those in the northern US and Canada, where there is generally ample snow for balling and throwing. But for Baltimoreons, the word calls up more of a summer theme.

That’s because snowball is what they call the distinctive hot weather treat sold all over the city, much like the one the rest of us know as a snow cone. But to the residents of Baltimore, theirs are made from roughly shaved ice, and served in a styrofoam cup with a squirt or two of flavored syrup, and sometimes even with a bit of marshmallow creme.

And that’s just the reference that Baltimore natives Charm City Junction has chosen as the title of their Christmas EP, set for release next Friday (December 13). They have picked five holiday classics, and given them their own unique spin. This unlikely quartet combines a bluegrass fiddler, an old time banjo picker, an Irish button accordionist, and a classically trained bass player. The sound they get mixes all of those elements, along with a bit of swing and a dash of good fun.

There’s a sprightly version of We Three Kings, led by the upright bass taking the melody; a jazzy run through of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer; an evocative reading of Silent Night on low-tuned banjo; the Hebrew liturgical poem Ma’oz Tzur, played on the accordion; and closing with a set of tunes including a grassy romp through Jingle Bells, and the old time favorite Breaking Up Christmas.

Patrick McAvinue is on fiddle, Brad Kolodner on banjo, Alex Lacquement on bass, and Sean McComiskey on accordion.

All the tracks are cleverly arranged, expertly played, and beautifully recorded, making Snowball an ideal holiday gift for anyone on your list who enjoys a wide rage of traditional music forms. Or for yourself, for repeated listening over the Christmas season.

Pre-orders are accepted now online, with shipping estimated for December 13. Both CDs and downloads can be ordered as gifts, to be delivered next week.

Radio programmers can find the tracks at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.