How the Sugar Thieves Stole Christmas

I took advantage of the recent cold spell, lit a fire, made some hot chocolate, curled up under a blanket, and popped in The Sugar Thieves, How the Sugar Thieves Stole Christmas. Holiday mood: Check!

On How the Sugar Thieves Stole Christmas, The Sugar Thieves (a Valley favorite and Arizona’s Finest Meat-Shakin’ Blues Bands to be exact) dish up some holiday standards and throw-in some originals to boot. But, instead of grabbing the sheet music and playing as written, these cats give the ear something very new and very good to listen to.

Take for instance, “Santa’s Baby”. Oh sure, there’s something sweet about the original, but when Meridith Moore, The Sugar Thieves’ lead singer gets a hold of it, the song is transformed into a torchy, dare I say, sexy, rendition.

But Moore and her band of Thieves (Mikel Lander on guitar, Jeff Naylor on upright bass, Shea Marshall on organ and sax, and David Libman on drums) don’t stop there.

Lander’s vocals are so smooth and lush on “Silent Night” that the performance rivals that of the Louis Armstrong version. It does. And, on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, Moore and Lander take the song and turn it into what I believe should be the standard for this standard. Their voices are so perfectly juxtaposed, the conversation within the song actually makes sense.

And while, “Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis”, and I could be wrong here, is not yet a holiday standard, it stands alone as a fine piece of music. Mikel’s voice lends itself well to this Tom Waits song, that’s for sure. Warning: If the holidays get you down, I strongly urge you not to play this while alone, or with a bottle of whiskey in front of you. Just sayin’…

I highly recommend this album as it proves the Sugar Thieves are the blues standard here and beyond. Click here to listen! And, make sure you head out to the Tempe X-mas Formal on December 14th at the Yucca Tap Room where The Sugar Thieves will be celebrating the season.

by Frank Ippolito
Staff Writer
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