Singer-songwriter Gabe Lee offers an antidote to the seemingly endless canon of positive, upbeat Christmas songs with his new track "Christmas Day." The artist is premiering the song exclusively with The Boot; press play below to listen.

"The Christmas experience changes so much as we grow up," Lee reflects to The Boot. "A heavy nostalgic, I am happily inspired by the almost painfully distant memories of the holiday, simultaneously wishing to relive them but also glad to have broken away from that particular sort of innocence."

Instead of leaning into that nostalgia, however, Lee goes for the exact opposite sort of tale: The folksy melody backs lyrics about a son "on the run," hiding from the law. "It's been a long, long lonely winter / It's been a cold, hard-livin' couple years / And it kills me to say they're gonna lock me away / And it don't look like I'll be home by Christmas day," he sings, adding in details of holidays gone by in a both sad and sarcastic voice.

"This song romances the idea of loneliness and even asks those who are left behind to simply move on, albeit not without a certain undertone of guilt," Lee explains. "Writing “Christmas Day” was a way to share my own bittersweet feelings about more than just a holiday. It’s really a confession of sorts, allowing me to step into a character that is plagued with resignation."

Lee's inspiration for the story told in "Christmas Day" came from an offhanded comment from a co-worker. As Lee wished him a Merry Christmas, the man offered in reply, "Any Christmas outside of prison is a good one." His co-worker's words made Lee want to "juxtapose the warm, classic hallmark Christmas with nature’s holiday, which is cold, dry and lifeless."

"Because both exist," he adds, "and I have an urge as a writer to bring them face to face."

"Christmas Day" will appear on Lee's forthcoming new album, which is due out in early 2020. The project follows Farmland, released in March.

Listen to Gabe Lee's "Christmas Day"

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