By Jacob Bases

Thanksgiving is behind us; ready or not holiday music will start oozing from the public landscape.

Whether you can’t get enough of the holiday classics or you want to shake up your Christmas catalog, a group of Mankato musicians has banded together in the spirit of the season to create River City Holiday: A Yuletide Collection of Mankato Music.

The project is more ambitious than just a collection of holiday tunes. The idea originated with Robb Murray while he was still at the Free Press to produce a holiday album with local artists to benefit Connections homeless shelter. The production was funded by local businesses and the musicians donated their time and talents allowing all the proceeds go to charity. Colin Sharf handled the majority of the recording and production, sprinklings of gold dust can be found throughout the album including Good Night Gold Dust’s own rendition of O Holy Night closing the collection.

With each track handled by a different local artist the album feels a little like running into an old friend.

If you’ve been paying attention to the Mankato music scene you will certainly find familiar voices within the 13 tracks. With each track handled by a different local artist the album feels a little like running into an old friend.

Each artist brings their own unique style and there is no shortage of variety from carols and bouncy pop covers to some original hip hop. My personal favorite is an original: Holiday Cheer by Bee Balm Fields captures the mood of the season while remaining fresh and secular. The track reminds me of returning to my favorite hometown bar on Christmas Eve which is a welcome memory in 2020 as it is unlikely I’ll have that opportunity.

No matter your musical taste you will almost certainly find something to raise your holiday spirit.

The physical release sold out in the first week but the album is still available for purchase on bandcamp.


Music Minute is weekly column created in collaboration with Triple Falls Productions. TFP co-founder Jacob Bases will pick a southern Minnesota artist from our weekend calendar to give you a peek into the artist’s story and process before you go hear them for yourself!


  • is a writer, musician, videographer and co-founder of Triple Falls Productions. Jacob is a Mankato resident invested in the arts and the community that makes them possible.