SONG PREMIERE: Terry Klein Shares World Of 1917 Meets 2020 Folk Original “The Last Great Christmas”

Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Terry Klein draws inspiration from musical heroes like Hank Williams, John Prine, and Lightnin Hopkins, but also from literature, film, and painting. His debut record, Great Northern, was produced by Walt Wilkins. Great Northern appeared on multiple 2017 Top Ten lists and garnered praise from Rodney Crowell and Mary Gauthier. Klein and Wilkins teamed up again for the follow up to Great Northern, Tex, which is out now. Tex has been the subject of international critical acclaim and reached the Top-20 of US Folk DJ Chart and the Top-15 of the EuroAmericana chart. He tours extensively throughout North America and Europe.

Glide is proud to premiere “The Last Great Christmas” (below) a family heirloom meets composition that reverberates with an eerie homespun overtone. Klein took a story written by his wife’s grandmother (Marion Norswing Phillips) about Christmas in 1917 for her family and adapted it into song. Klein sings with a trusted gravitas and polished reflection reminiscent of Guy Clark and Steve Earle.

“Every year on Christmas Eve we sit down as a family and read a story my wife’s grandmother wrote about Christmas in rural North Dakota in 1917,” says Klein. “The writing in the story is impeccable. A few years ago I took a crack at turning it into a song and though people said nice things about the tune, I had doubts. It occurred to me recently that the song has special pertinence these days so I went back and revised it. I’m happy with how it turned out. It might even help take some of the sting out of the fact that we can’t get together as a family and read the story this Christmas,” says Klein.

Photo Credit : Valerie Fremin


The Last Great Christmas (lyrics) 

(Terry Klein & Marion Norswing Phillips) 

Outside Fargo, North Dakota Papa loosed the reins 

December twenty third, nineteen seventeen 

Two girls wrapped in cashmere set upon a sled 

Snow spread far as the eye could see 

And just when it felt like the ride would never end 

A farmhouse and a barn came into view 

Now the horses halted and shawls were thrown aside 

Into Grandma’s arms the girls they fairly flew 

You know the past is a distant mirror 

And history repeats 

Pulled apart and stuck together 

Misfit refugees 

Mother, fathers, sons, and daughters 

Pray the Lord their souls to keep 

Farmhouse kitchen all abustle roasted turkey rhubarb pie 

Bland lutefisk and lefse too of course 

Then Christmas Eve together all did brave the cold 

To visit Kate the calico pony and Dan the old gray horse 

Then came time for supper, king and commoner fared the same 

But no one lingered at the table on that night 

All gathered in the parlor, hugs and kisses and gifts exchanged 

The candles on the Christmas tree burned fleeting, warm, and bright CHORUS 

It was the last great Christmas but no one knew it then 

The laughter and the joy soon left behind 

War and influenza raged all through the next year 

It was the last great Christmas for all time 


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