Looking for a unique Christmas gift? Well, it’s never a better time to check some local musicians. We’ve got a special “6 Picks” this week – some recent releases and classics for you to consider this holiday season. Here are a few of our favorites. To purchase, check with your favorite record store or click on the links below.

Cardboard Ox Christmas

Steve Allain and Tracie Potochnik comprise the duo Cardboard Ox, a Providence based folk act that released a gorgeous Christmas album a year ago. The band gigs throughout the year and really shines on this release. The EP, A Cardboard Ox Christmas, includes three original songs and Dolly Parton’s “Christmas Without You.” Details here.

Jazz on Whaling City Sound

Jazz fans need look no further than New Bedford’s boutique label Whaling City Sound. The label releases high quality CD’s with comprehensive liner notes from noted local and national jazz artists.  Recent releases from Terry Gibbs, Dave Zinno Unisphere, and NYC saxman Eric Wyatt and have garnered critical acclaim. Check the web site for ordering information and further details. Click here to support local jazz!

75 or Less Records

75 or Less Records is a Providence based label that releases music from mainly local bands spanning genres from metal to jazz. True to their independent ethos, the label generally releases no more than 500 copies. Albums from Lincoln Tunnel, Swampbirds, The Low Cards and Bill Keough top our holiday list. For the complete list of available music check their web site here.

Jenn Vix

New Deer Tick

Deer Tick returns to town for a couple of shows at the Newport Blues Café later this month, before they begin a major tour. Meanwhile, the RI-born band released two albums this fall, Vol. 1, (acoustic) and Vol. 2, (electric.) Both are available at brick and mortar stores and online retailers and here.

Jenn Vix Unlocked

Newport resident and national recording artist Jenn Vix has released a new EP, Unlocked featuring the compelling single “Complicated Man.” Her indie alt-rock vibe has attracted some great reviews recently – WhatsUpNewp will have more on Jenn soon. Meanwhile, check out the video below and  listen to Unlocked here.

Bandwagon – RI Rock History

The benefit album “Bandwagon” was the brain child of Providence-based producer Al Gomes. The 1986 recording was a “Live Aid” inspired collection of music which featured many of Rhode Island’s notable musicians including John Cafferty, Cheryl Wheeler, Gail Greenwood, Dan Moretti and Mark Cutler. The album was re-packaged in 2013 and is available here. For some fun, check out the PM Magazine clip from 30 years ago – wow!

More, More More!

There’s lots more new music out locally including punkabilly from Tony Jones and the Jerktones, ghost folk on vinyl from Allysen Callery, a debut album from Smithfield singer-songwriter Lainey Dionne, and acoustic music from singer-songwriter Brian McKenzie.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.