For the past several years, Fayetteville band Farmer & The Markets have provided the soundtrack for the farmers market, Lights of the Ozarks, and a host of other local events and gatherings around town.
Recently, they may have created the soundtrack for your holiday gatherings as well.
The four piece group that has become a local favorite over the years with their unique instrumentation, and multi-part harmonies at their performances at the farmers’ market on the Fayetteville square, just released a full-length album of traditional Christmas music.
The album, simply titled Merry Christmas includes 14 tracks, featuring holiday favorites like Jingle Bells and Here Comes Santa Claus, a rollicking rendition of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, and even some lesser known songs like I Saw Three Ships, and We Three Kings.
The album is available to stream for free via the Farmer & the Markets Bandcamp page, and you can purchase it as well for $12.
We got in touch with the band to find out more about the album, and what inspired them to create it, and they were nice enough to answer a few questions for us.
What made you guys decide to do an album of Christmas songs?
Zach: We feel like our sound is really appropriate for holiday tunes, and it doesn’t hurt that we’re all huge fans of Christmas. People often approach us at the Lights of the Ozarks to ask if we have a Christmas album available, so this year we decided to give people that option. We wanted to put something out that people could enjoy with their families or when they’re putting up decorations.
How and where did you guys record it?
Cody: We tracked these songs over about a week and a half long period at my studio in mid-November, after which I mixed and mastered the album as well. I was really looking to reflect our energetic live presence through the production, and I’m very happy with how things turned out. For anyone interested in checking out all of the things I’ve produced for artists all around Fayetteville, you can check out my studio Facebook page.
There are so many Christmas songs these days. How did you guys pick the 14 that ended up on the record?
Phil: Naturally, we mostly chose Christmas songs that people already know and love. Songs like Jingle Bells, Let It Snow, Here Comes Santa Claus; most of the “traditional” Christmas tunes you may hear on the radio this time of year. Of course, we also like to throw in a few lesser-known songs like I Saw Three Ships and We Three Kings. It’s pretty similar to how we choose the songs that we perform at the Farmers Market and other events that we play regularly. People come for the songs they know, and stay to hear the ones that may be new to them. The fun part is getting to tweak the songs a bit and play our own versions of them and watch the reactions of people when we do!
You guys always amaze me with how many songs you know how to play. Seriously. How many songs do you guys know, anyway?
Ashtyn: We probably know about 70 songs with Farmer & the Markets. If you combine the material from all of our other past and present projects, we could play music for a few days.
I know you guys all stay busy with other projects. What all do you have going on musically these days?
Cody: My other main project right now is Moonsong, which is a psychedelic pop project in which I do all of the songwriting, recording, and production myself, and then have a live band made up of good friends to help me do shows! Zach plays bass in the live band, which is awesome. It’s a great outlet for all of the weirder, more out-of-the-box ideas that wouldn’t translate as well with Farmer. I’ve got an EP out now with a full-length album due for early next year!
Ashtyn: My main other project is Photosphere, a brand new duo with Tim Warden. It’s really refreshing to have an outlet for original material!
Phil: I play keyboard in a local rock band called Molten Mama. Since I don’t play any string instruments, it’s fun to get to play a smaller keyboard instrument like a xylophone with Farmer and the Markets, and then turn around and play a high energy rock show on an 88-key piano with Molten Mama!