Dear Santa (and other people whose Christmas lists I am on),
I know you don’t fully understand my country music obsession, and I appreciate that you’re wiling to accept me anyway. To save you the embarrassment of being the fifth person to buy me a Kenny Rogers calendar this December, here’s a list of gift suggestions to make me (or the other country music lovers on your list) boot scoot with joy come Christmas morning.
UK Country Music Fan
While a love of country music doesn’t mean I wish to have my wardrobe and world covered in rhinestones, fashion fortunately keeps looping back to Western inspired trends. This means there’s usually something on the market that’s en vogue but still a nod to all inner cowboys and girls. My personal favourites are this fringed bag (above, £30) and bolo necklace (below, £8), both from Asos.
2. Bob’s Book
Bob Harris – trust me, your country fan will know his name even if you don’t – has a new book due out early next year. Whispering Bob’s Nashville promises to be full of archive and to offer the legendary broadcaster’s reflections on Music City and the stars he’s had the incredible job of meeting there. You’re currently able to pre-order this first edition and have your country lover’s name included in the credits (for helping fund it during the campaign stage).
3. Cowboy Boot vouchers
Choosing cowboy boots is a very personal thing. I once drove (or rather had @judiburger drive me) across Tennessee to find the one pair I’d fallen in love with. So don’t try to pick out a pair for someone else, but if you know cowboy boots are on the wish list and you’re willing/able to splash out, try vouchers from cheekily named London boot purveyors Rsoles. Failing that, you could draw up an I.O.U. for Sheplers; they don’t do gift vouchers but they’re one of the only big US sites that ship the major American boot brands to the UK.
4. A Boot Jack
An admittedly niche gift, but a must for any fellow (ageing) fans who’ve had the hardship of trying to take off stiff, new cowboy boots in a hurry. There are loads of boot jacks available from outdoor and riding stores but novelty options like these bug shaped ones (from £5) make a surprising stocking filler.
5. DAB Radio
Because we don’t have the luxury of regularly hearing the music we love on mainstream stations in the UK, country fans have to rely on internet streaming or DAB stations to remind us we’re not all alone. DAB Radio sets are available from about £15 from wherever you buy your electricals. They pick up stations like Downtown Country or – if you’re in Manchester, Cambridge or Portsmouth – the DAB trial of Chris Country.
The Nashville Boxset is a no-brainer, but there are also a load of movies out there with cracking country soundtracks. Tearjerker Best of Me features tracks by Kip Moore, Lady Antebellum and Hunter Hayes; while Country Strong has actress Gwyneth Paltrow duetting with country superstar Tim McGraw.
7. Cowboy Wellies
While choosing someone else’s proper cowboy boots is a no no, these quirky cowboy wellies (£35.50 from Country2Western) are fun for festival going country fans. And with Glastonbury featuring more and more country acts each year (past lineups have included Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves) they’re could come in handy.
8. Ticketmaster Vouchers
A glorious thing has been happening in the last few years… The US country music megastars have finally (finally!) started crossing the Atlantic to visit us. The new flock is incredibly welcome, but with Jason Isbell, The Dixie Chicks, Brett Eldredge and Dierks Bentley, already lined up for UK tour dates in just the first few months of next year, 2016 is shaping up to be an expensive one for UK country music fans. Any contributions to the gig fund will be most welcome and vouchers are available online or at WH Smith, Boots and Argos.
9. A Chris Stapleton Album
If you can, check your country fan doesn’t already have this album. He’s the bloke who cleaned up at this years Country Music Association Awards, but was relatively little known over here before his multi-award winning night. Chris’s Traveller album is £8.99 on iTunes.
10. Maverick Magazine Subscription
This UK country music magazine, has 12 month subscriptions at £39 for online and £60 for print.
11. Cowboy Pyjamas
And finally, I LOVE (and am currently wearing) these PJs which are on sale at ASOS for £16.50.
Please let us know anything on your country Christmas list, in the comments below.
@CheryTwee for @ukcountryblog
(Featured picture Cowboy Santa, courtesy of Flickr User Dave Friedel)