In the late 70s, Steve was asked to write two songs for an album to be called "Christmas Country Style." He wracked his brain trying to think of material. Then he remembered Christmas of '78. We were living in a tiny two-bedroom house in Mid-town Sacramento. We had just opened a Mission in West Sacramento feeding transients and providing Bible Classes and Crafts for the children in the neighborhood. A few churches supported our little project, but always there was the neighborhood that provided volunteers and now and then some cash support. In the future, Steve would begin a music ministry to help raise the funds to support it. In the meantime, we always had our needs met for both the Mission and our family, but not a lot for "extras".
That year was especially challenging. We had decided before the kids were born that if we were going to seriously live out what we understood to be a life of faith that we would trust God to take care of our material needs. We also felt that we needed to live pretty simply to have some credibility among the people to whom we felt we were called to. Then came Christmas. Do we choose a Christmas tree or save the money for a few gifts for the kids?
The house had an odd layout. The living room had been a porch so there were two doorways into the kitchen. We had crudely blocked one doorway with a piece of furniture. Steve got the idea to create a manger scene from the kid's toys. Some pretty impressive angels cut out from paper hung from the top of the doorway. It was one thing to imagine Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus from their doll collection but what about the animals? We spotted a donkey, Eeyore! The kids then rushed to grab Tigger, Pooh and others. Thanks for our generous family and friends, our kids never lacked for toys. It ended up being a fun project and thankfully was the only Christmas that we didn't have a tree, but we sure learned that Christmas is Very Special Made of Simple Things. Below is the song and two others that Steve wrote, Christmas Country Style and the Unsung Carol in two styles. We really appreciated Adam Davis doing the art for the Simple Things single. Rick Garcia and Ross Petersen did the mixing for the album and a great group of Steve's friends helped be the band back up. Our son, Steve produced it, did saxophone and background vocals, then: Gunnar Olsen-Drums, Bass-Jeff Roffredo, Guitar-Mandolin-Oscar Rodriguez, Piano/Organ-Raynier Jacildo, Pedal Steel-Klaus Caprani, Trumpet-Nate Perkins, Trombone-Dennis Hennessy. Steve, Sr's sister flew in from Tennessee to help with back up vocals and our daughter Pam would have also done back up, but came down with laryngitis at the time. All songs are available on I-tunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify. Have a Merry Christmas everyone from our family to yours.