FeaturedFlagpole Premieres

Flagpole Premieres: Sloan Brothers, “Ain’t Goin’ Home This Christmastime”

Thanksgiving is over—on to the next holiday! This Black Friday, Sloan Brothers, the recording project of R. Sloan Simpson, kicks off the countdown to Dec. 25 with the single “Ain’t Goin’ Home This Christmastime.” Envisioned as an imaginary B-side to Bruce Springsteen’s cover of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town,” the song is an upbeat rocker that carries a bittersweet sadness.

“My song is about reaching an age where you no longer go home for Christmas because there’s nobody left to visit,” says Simpson. “A lot of Springsteen’s music deals with family, and I have a lot of associations with my own family and his music. I received the ‘Born In the U.S.A.’ cassette as a Christmas gift when it came out in 1984. Many years later, my father and I drove long-distance to hours of his music just after my mother’s death because it was less annoying to him than anything else I was likely to play in the car. Before his own death, my dad, never a rock music fan of any kind, watched all (nearly 3 hours) of Springsteen’s Netflix Broadway show at my suggestion and came to understand why I’m a fan.”

In typical Sloan Brothers fashion, Simpson is joined on this track by an all-star cast of Athens musicians, several of whom he previously recorded live for his archive Southern Shelter. The lineup includes Kimberly Morgan York on vocals, Richard Mikulka (Los Cantares) on guitar, Paul McHugh (Pilgrim) on piano and organ, and Bryan J. Howard (Cracker) on bass, tenor saxophone and tubular bells. Simpson contributes vocals, guitar, and drum and percussion programming. The single’s cover artwork was designed by Chris McNeal (Maserati) using a photo from Mike White (Deadly Designs).

“Ain’t Goin’ Home This Christmastime” will be officially released at and other streaming platforms on Tuesday, Nov. 29.