New Grass Revival, “Let’s Make A Baby King”

It’s not a Christmas standard by any means, though maybe it should be. “Let’s Make a Baby King” is a song recorded in 1989 by the New Grass Revival, a virtuoso bluegrass band that bucked the old-timey tradition. It was actually written by the late Jesse Winchester, a Louisiana singer/songwriter who began his career in earnest in Canada, where he had gone to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. He was well-known to his peers, but not so much to the general public. “Let’s Make a Baby King,” from the New Grass Revival’s Friday Night in America album, is one of Winchester’s best, and is a great Christmas song that is neither pious nor overly-festive, but one that simply discusses the birth of Jesus and how it might benefit us all to put Him in the driver’s seat. Legendary mandolinist Sam Bush is one of the founding members of the New Grass Revival, which went through several personnel changes before settling on the best-known lineup of Bush, banjoist Bela Fleck, guitarist Pat Flynn and vocalist/bassist John Cowan. Bush recalled that the band was already familiar with Winchester, but believes it was Cowan who suggested cutting the song. “John found…

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