The ten most depressing country Christmas songs

Country music is a genre of dysfunction -- between the drinkin' and the cheatin', the relentless (and borderline creepy) adoration of one's "mama" and the occasional stint in the can. And yet, for as much as country artists love singing about the holidays, these themes rarely creep into country Christmas songs. We dug up a few gems -- country Christmas songs that do their part in keeping a little sin and sadness in the season.

See also:
Ten country Christmas songs that are mostly not terrible
Ten Country Christmas songs to try not to hate

10. Robert Earl Keen - "Merry Christmas from the Family"

The song's been covered by artists as varied as Jill Sobule, the Dixie Chicks and Montgomery Gentry, who took the tune to #38 in 2001, but Robert Earl Keen's original take on a Texas family Christmas, with its gravelly, sardonic delivery, remains essential. Notable lyric: Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party. We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog. Little sister brought her new boyfriend, he was a Mexican. We didn't know what to think of him until he sang Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad.

9. Everly Brothers - "Christmas Eve Can Kill You"

The Everlys are, like, the ultimate metaphor for country music and for Christmas. All cheery happy-go-lucky old-timey harmonizing shiny exterior, but a whole mess of, well, alcoholism and despair underneath. Pass the eggnog and a revolver, please. Notable lyric: The sound of one man walking through the snow can break your heart, and stopping doesn't help, so on I'll go. And Christmas eve can kill you when you're trying to hitch a ride to anywhere.

8. John Prine - "Christmas In Prison"

Humorous and poignant (does he write any other kind of song?), this tune first appeared on Prine's 1973 album Sweet Revenge, and reappeared on his 1994 Christmas album. Yes, even John Prine has released a Christmas album. Notable lyric: It was Christmas in prison and the food was real good. We had turkey and pistols carved out of wood. And I dream of her always even when I don't dream. Her name's on my tongue and her blood's in my stream.

7. Asleep at the Wheel - "Christmas in Jail"

Asleep at the Wheel continues the incarceration theme, albeit with less poignancy, more Western swing. Notable lyric: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, they're singin' down the street. While everybody's having Christmas turkey, they bring me bread and water to eat.

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Tonight is the last night of the 2012 Trashy Little Xmas Show, down at Lee's Liquor Lounge.  We do three sets of Christmas music that rocks, swings and swaggers, including many of the tunes listed here.  This is my invitation to everyone, and especially you, Nikki Miller-Rose, on a silver platter, to come down to Lee's and see Trailer Trash for yourself!  I double dog dare you to let us make a fan out of you!


Stompin' Tom actually made a X-mas album with actual X-mas songs like "Down on Christmas", the somewhat depressing "Orphan's Story" about Santa's visit to the orphanage, and a vocally challenged version of "Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)".

When I think depressing Christmas songs, some tunes come to mind such as "Old Toy Trains" by Roger Miller, "Shut In At Christmas" by Bruce Robison, "Blue Blue Christmas (For This Truck Drivin' Man)" by Red Simpson, "If We Make It Through December" by Merle Haggard, "Lonely Christmas Call" by George Jones, Ferlin Husky's "Christmas Don't Feel Like Christmas", and of course the ever "spirited"
"Merry Christmas From A Bar" by Mike Ireland.

Keep it real.

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