Making music is a year-round activity – all of the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into recording, promoting, and touring an album culminate in a single release date that could make or break an artist. Right place, right time is a powerful concept in this industry. That’s why I’m excited to talk about a few brave artists that have released their latest sounds in December, just before the holidays. The Show Ponies’ How It All Goes Down has a decidedly harder edge than the band’s earlier work. The track “The Time It Takes” is a pint of Springsteen bar rock, with a tall shot of honky-tonk on the side. Get nostalgic with Michael Chapman’s 75-year-old vocals on the troubadour’s latest record, 50, and take your fan boat into the deep bayou with the Revelers’ zydeco laden Swamp Pop Classics. Miles Nielsen and Kelly Steward round out the set with an indie-leaning Americana EP filled with great ballads. Buy someone you love some music this holiday season.