The logo for The Sleigher.
Credit: Julia Terbrock

HO HO WHO: Ben Rector, the Oklahoma-born and Nashville-based singer-songwriter. After releasing his first studio album in 2007, Rector has risen to a sort of folksy stardom for his alternative pop releases. Fittingly, Rector’s latest release is A Ben Rector Christmas, a seven-song collection of tunes that debuted just in time for the holiday season. Here, his piano skills and upbeat vocals grace a handful of well-loved jingles. “The Thanksgiving Song” is the first track on the album, giving listeners a chronological holiday experience and signaling Rector’s interest in making Thanksgiving songs mainstream.

FILL YOUR PLATE AND FILL YOUR DRINK: Are listeners hungry for music about Turkey Day? Rector thinks so, citing the gap in the popular-holiday-music market that stretches from Halloween to Christmas. Armed with the knowledge that there isn’t a whole lot out there in terms of Thanksgiving songs, Rector digs into the basics. He croons about football games, long highway drives to his hometown and large family gatherings. Essentially, this song is the perfect track for a Hallmark movie about Thanksgiving. From the highs of Thanksgiving dinner to the lows of missing a loved one, Rector takes “The Thanksgiving Song” on a simple, piano-driven trip.

THE LONGEST YEAR IN HISTORY: Thanksgiving just doesn’t have the same spark as Christmas. That puts “The Thanksgiving Song” at a serious disadvantage, but Rector has one special secret. Calling for listeners to put the “leftover year” away, the artist wraps up his song with a perfectly hopeful message that “we made it through … the longest year in history.” Perhaps 2020 is the year for Rector’s song to shine. Thanksgiving dinners were a lot different and a lot smaller this year, thanks to COVID-19. What better way to remember the good times than through a familiar tune that will get stuck in your head?

CHEER FACTOR: 6/10. Rector’s efforts to make Thanksgiving a song-worthy holiday merit some praise, as does the overall pleasant musical experience “The Thanksgiving Song” delivers. However, this song will stick out in a holiday playlist filled with snowmen and jingle bells. If you’re still craving some of your grandma’s stuffing or are a bit of a holiday rebel, give “The Thanksgiving Song” a listen.