Stu Reid: A star of Christmas

Radio host shares obscure and rare music through annual Christmas compilations

Graphic by Evan Tremblay

For those in the music industry, releasing a Christmas single or album is a rite of passage, bordering on mandatory. With the bombardment of Christmas music each year, it can sometimes be an arduous task to separate the good from the downright awful.

Enter: Stu Reid.

As host of CKUW 95.9’s TwangTrust, Reid has been releasing Christmas compilations of obscure Christmas songs and covers annually since 1996. As a Christmas music collector, Reid acts a liaison for listeners who want to hear arcane and interesting holiday songs.

“Bad Christmas music is undoubtedly the worst music there is, but the great stuff is great regardless of your feelings on the holiday itself,” explained Reid to the Manitoban.

When Reid released his first Christmas compilation (Holiday Tunes for the Hippest of Teens: Everybody Out There Been Good or What?), he saw it as a one-time excuse to compile a few of his favourite songs.

“I’d always loved Christmas time as a kid for all the usual reasons and loved finding a new cool rockin’ ditty I could celebrate the season with that wasn’t one of the same tired old standards,” said Reid.

“It was so much fun to do, it became a tradition.”

Coinciding with the release of the 2014 Reid Family Christmas Spectacular, Reid will give away the CD to listeners on his radio show during the month of December.

Over the years, Reid’s reputation as an expert on interesting Christmas music has led to unique opportunities for the radio host. On Dec. 11 at Cinematheque, Reid will be introducing the premier of Jingle Bell Rocks, a documentary that looks at alternative Christmas music and its collectors. As a great aficionado, it seems only appropriate that Reid introduce the film.

When asked about items in his collection, Reid notes one in particular: a vinyl copy of the 1980 release Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album. Signed by Jon Bon Jovi, who performed vocals on the album, Reid’s fondness for the record lies not in the music, but in the story.

“It’s a horrible album with no redeeming musical qualities, plus I can’t stand Bon Jovi. But he was at least nice enough and had enough of a sense of humour to sign it for me instead of ripping it up like I probably would have done,” explained Reid.

“I’d gladly share a mug of nog with Jon.”

Stu Reid is the host of TwangTrust every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. on University of Winnipeg radio station, CKUW 95.9. Reid will give away his 2014 Christmas compilation CD on his show starting Dec. 3 as well as Dec. 11 at the Cinematheque’s premier of Jingle Bell Rocks.