“Christmas on Cellblock 9” from See Your Shadow Songwriting

If you’re like me, then you don’t need the excuse of a calendar alert you that it’s time to listen to holiday music. So, the window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is an overload of fun and joy, to say the least. One new song on Santa’s list is the audacious new standout “Christmas on Cellblock 9” from See Your Shadow Songwriting. The type of song that puts more tinsel into the lyrical content than most, “Christmas on Cellblock 9” never trims on the Christmas cheer. It’s a funny, hop-along, sing along ride.

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without having something to cheer about. “Christmas on Cellblock 9” starts out a bit dark, a bit of a dreary night. The singer is walking home on Christmas eve and is arrested. It’s a case of mistaken identity, but low and behold, there is he on Christmas eve in jail. He can’t make bail and has to rough it for the night amongst a Santa that has had a bit too much to drink, and few mentally checked-out inmates. He’s worried about well, you know Bubba getting a bit too friendly with him under the mistletoe and decking the walls behind the concrete walls. Aren’t most folks’ Christmases like this? Just kidding. There’s a lot of jolly happening in the story line and for See Your Shadow Songwriting, which is led by Michael Coleman, this riot of a tale is just the holiday distraction we need.

See Your Shadow gets its name from Coleman’s ‘Groundhog Day’ birthday. He’s based in Arizona and has previously focused more on dance club music and writing for television and film. “Christmas on Cellblock 9” is his first holiday track, and a follow-up to his previous country hits “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” and “My Worth”. Coleman works with a variety of singers, and his voice isn’t the one you hear on “Christmas on Cellblock 9”. The voice that listeners do hear, well, it’s perfect for a holiday song. It’s cheerful and if you close your eyes, you can imagine it the same voice you would hear on a Hallmark movie. It would be nice to have a bit more character in the voice, but for a country song, the story does the talking.

The song’s guitar work is outstanding. I found the arrangement to be almost pop rock. There is definitely comparisons to some current country hits, but you can tell Coleman has a penchant for the lyrics. He’s a lot like Marty Robbins and Hank Williams in that regard. He’s not being boastful or putting everything but kitchen sink into the song. I think he did a great job of editing himself and putting together a solid, clean, short ditty. I think many artists try to overdo the whole Christmas thing and at times it can be patronizing. This is not the case. “Christmas on Cellblock 9” is about as good of telling a story as you can get. High praise indeed.

Michael Rand

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