Despite being what guitarist Russ Cannon calls a "ridiculous idea," local bluegrass band Milkhouse Radio has managed to write and record an original Christmas song in less than a month. The result is "Christmas on the Isthmus," which is as much a string-band carol as a love note to Madison.
"The banjo player, Scott Baumann, pitched the idea of recording a Christmas tune, 'Deck the Halls,' as a sort of holiday card for our fans," writes Cannon in an email. "But I had been toying around with the lyric 'I'd rather spend my Christmas ice fishing on an Isthmus' for another song, and I thought, 'How many bluegrass Christmas songs are there about Madison, Wisconsin? Not enough.'"
Cannon claims songwriting credit, but adds that the whole band contributed, which it does for all of their originals.
"Milkhouse Radio is just a few months old," says Cannon. "While we have a great regular second-Wednesday-of-the-month show at the Mason Lounge, we're still working on reaching out to new folks."
Cannon has received some good feedback since he posted the video, a great collection of art and photos of Madison, just a couple days ago.
"The response has been really positive from current and former Madisonians, which is really the target audience, and that's been great to see," he says. "We're a mix of natives and transplants in the group, but we're all glad to call the isthmus home."
There's also a live video of "Christmas on the Isthmus," recorded this month at the Mason.