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The Brantley Family Band's tunes of the season

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Even though Thanksgiving isn't for another week, Christmas decorations have already been up in stores for what seems like a couple of months. And the Christmas holiday season will get its unofficial "early" start in the Triangle this weekend, with Saturday's annual Downtown Raleigh Christmas Parade. But an altogether cooler local tradition is the Brantley Family Band's Christmas album, a longtime labor of love for Bull City guitarist Jim Brantley's family and friends.

This year's model will be the seventh one they've done, and they'll start recording next week on Black Friday -- "in protest of over-consumption, shopping malls (and) rushing the season." The 2010 edition should surface sometime in December; I'll keep you posted. Meantime, dig this gem from last year.

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About the blogger

David Menconi has been the News & Observer's music critic since 1991. Before that, he spent five years at the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo. He has a masters in journalism from the University of Texas and a B.A. in English from Southwestern University. You can find more of his writing here.