“It’s the day before the end of the world, so we want this to be a night that everyone will remember,” jokes Carolyn Sills, in reference to the date of her holiday concert, “Santa Is Real: A 1950s Christmas Spectacular,” which kicks off on Dec. 20 at Don Quixote’s. The annual event is the pride and joy of the Chicago-born bassist/singer, who moved to Santa Cruz three years ago.
Her fanbase has expanded so quickly since then, that the event sold out last year. “People always comment on how it really helps get them in the Christmas spirit,” says Sills. Though she performed in bands on the East Coast—everything from funk, to blues, to a Patsy Cline tribute group—when her husband/bandmate, Gerard Egan, was offered a job building guitars for Santa Cruz Guitar Company, the pair headed West. It was through their adoration for Western swing, country Western and spaghetti Western music that they became friends with Charlie Wallace (steel guitar), Jimmy Norris (drums), Jerry Logan (upright bass) and Jon Dryden (piano), all of whom star in “Santa Is Real.” Completing the line-up are singers Sunshine Jackson and Sarah Eblen. The show features two hours of classic 1950s country and pop hits from artists like The Andrews Sisters and Elvis. Sills will also perform original material, including her Christmas anthem, “George Bailey,” from her self-titled 2010 EP. This lo-fi tambourine-bashing hit is carried by rolling drums and Sills’ timeless vocals, and references It’s a Wonderful Life. An avid record collector, Sills describes the show as “like hearing that vinyl sound live.” She adds, “If you’re gonna listen to these songs every year, why don’t you just come out and hear them all done by a band who’s worked hard and wants to play them for you?”
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $12. 603-2294.