CSOTD 12/20/2015: One block from Gum Drop Street

During the Christmas season of 2014, I was driving somewhere, probably to work, but it could have been to anywhere. From the radio in my car came the sound of a super-catchy holiday song I’d never heard before. It sounded as if the Andrews Sisters had been reincarnated as vocalists in a Western Swing band. Naturally, as soon as it was safe for me to do so, I Shazamed it. It came right up – and even better, it was hiding in plain sight among the Christmas CDs I already own. This wonderful holiday nugget is my Christmas Song of the Day for December 20.

By 2010, contemporary Christian vocal group Point of Grace, who had been recording with great success since 1993,  was down to three members from its original foursome. Original members Shelley Breen and Denise Jones remained, joined by Leigh Cappillino in 2004 as a replacement for Terry Jones. The fourth original member, Heather Payne, left in 2008, and the group decided to continue as a trio. As such, they recorded Home for the Holidays, their third all-new Christmas album.

One of the songs on this set was basically brand-new. Jennifer Denmark, then known as Jennifer Zuffinetti, a professional songwriter in Nashville, was driving home from work one day in November 2009 when she was inspired to write her first Christmas song, “Candy Cane Lane.” (Many cities and towns have a road or neighborhood that goes all-out with Christmas lights and decorations; such a place sometimes is called Candy Cane Lane.) She made a download available on her MySpace page that season, and shortly thereafter, she and two songwriter friends formed a trio called North Pole Patrol specifically to perform seasonal three-part harmonies in the style of the Andrews Sisters and similar groups. (They have since changed their name to The Ellas so they can branch out beyond Christmas music.)

Meanwhile, “Candy Cane Lane” ended up on the short list for Point of Grace’s 2010 holiday album. They loved it, and their zest for the song shows in their performance. To my ears, “Candy Cane Lane” sounds like a standard in the making, and I hope you’ll agree.



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