Country California’s Holiday Gift Guide

Ho Ho… Hold it for just a second there.

Giving a Spotify gift card this Christmas? You might as well give a note that says “I know you like music, but don’t know enough about it or about you to come up with a more specific idea.”

Here are our picks for the season’s smartest, savviest gifts for the country music faithful in your life. Gifts that show some real thought and initiative. Stuff with some personality. Items they might not even know about or realize they’ll love until they see them. Stuff to leave people thinking “I didn’t even know this existed, but you knew I’d like it. You must really know me.”

You know… the good stuff.

For Country Bookworms
We listed and linked to some of 2014’s notable country-related book releases here. The Black Friday discount code no longer applies, but the selections are still just as worthwhile. One more – probably of more general/inspirational versus academic interest – is Jimmy Wayne’s Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way.

For Writers, Artists, and Country History Buffs (or People Who Want to Hear Peter Cooper’s Impersonations of Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare, Tex Ritter, etc.)
I just got through listening to the updated audiobook version of Tom T. Hall’s 1979 memoir, The Storyteller’s Nashville, read by Hall fanatic and country journo extraordinaire Peter Cooper, and it’s delightful. You can get it as CD or download from various outlets. I got mine from Downpour.

storyteller's nashville

For Kids, in Fact or at Heart
So the Cooper-coproduced I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow is a few years old now, but I just noticed that Red Beet Records offers a package that includes the Grammy-nominated tribute album and a lyrical coloring book. I’d have loved the crap out of this when I was a kid.

song of fox hollow

For Lovers of Documentaries About Quirky Characters
For gifting purposes, the DVD version of Jeremy Dylan’s informative and inspiring documentary, Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, might work best. After a wait for rights clearances and such, you can now get that or downloads/rentals of the film at

For Actual or Aspiring Texans
The latest issue of Oxford American is a very special Texas Music Issue, chock full of good Texas-centric writing and including a compilation CD with this stellar track list. Find it on quality newsstands near you or order a copy online.


For Classicists
Know someone who likes the old songs and the old singers? Probably can’t do better than getting them an autographed (while supplies last) copy of the loving, nostalgic new CD from 89-year-old 2014 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Mac Wiseman. Songs From My Mother’s Hand is available at the Wrinkled Records store.

songs from my mothers hand1

For Wearers of Opinionated Shirts
Farce the Music’s merchandise shop has a huge selection of clever, amusing designs. If I felt the need to have my clothing reflect my musical preferences, I’d be all over it.

FTM shop

For Burgeoning Young Musicians
I don’t know why The Gretchen Peters Songbook, with “twelve of your favorite Gretchen Peters songs transcribed in detail for piano, vocal and guitar,” is discounted so deeply at the artist’s online store. But I do know that I’d feel a lot better about the next generation of young (female) artists if I thought they were studying up on “Let That Pony Run” and “On a Bus to St. Cloud” instead of daydreaming about winning the next season of The Voice.

gretchen peters songbook

For Music Fans You Won’t Be Seeing and Are Too Lazy to Mail Anything To (or For Yourself)
For December, Amazon has a larger-than-usual list of digital country albums for $5 apiece. Selections run the entire gamut of country music tastes and can all be gifted by email. Not that far from the Spotify gift card thing, but at least you’re demonstrating some actual knowledge of the recipient’s tastes.

For Everyone Else
If you’re doing any of your other shopping on Amazon, start from our link below to have them kick back a percentage to us for our fundraising efforts. Electronics purchases add up especially quickly, but every little bit helps. Right now, we’re scraping up pennies for Bonaparte’s Retreat. Donations will be made as we reach Amazon’s payment threshold and receive funds: With our first donation just ahead at the end of December, we’re already on track for a second at the end of February. All of this month’s purchases will be reflected in the February donation.

Start your Amazon shopping here.

New posts, by email, whenever we’ve got ’em.

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