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Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree with Jon Lindsay 

With his debut nationally-released album, Escape from Plaza Midwood, Charlotte singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jon Lindsay earned accolades from publications around the country for his unique spin on the pop-rock genre. While most people would take that praise and fuel their next album with it, Lindsay isn't content simply working on his next solo effort.

Though he is currently a handful of songs into the follow-up, Summer Wilderness Program, Lindsay is also working on his album with his band, The Catch Fire, and organizing one helluva Christmas Party on, you guessed it, Christmas night.

"It's been a great year for me, I've been gone a lot and I wanted to do something at home to celebrate it all," Lindsay says by phone from Sioux Sioux Studios in Charlotte. "It's cool to get people out of their houses — and if it wasn't such a strong lineup, I wouldn't be doing it on Christmas night. It's a great time to get together with people from the local scene and also meet up with friends. It's also a great opportunity to play new material in front of friends and see how they like it."

The Christmas night event, which will take place at Petra's Piano Bar, is a variety show of sorts that will include musicians, writers, actors — Lindsay himself, Miles Swartz, Jay Garrigan, Stephen Warwick, Jason Michel, Kevin Keck, Matt Faircloth, The Honeyslides, The Catch Fire, Jason Herring, Grant Funderburk and Jeremy Shane — in an effort to showcase a variety of talent all under one roof. No drums or bass will be used and the focus will be on vocals for the musicians.

"Petra's has been incredible in giving me creative license in throwing an event like this," Lindsay says. "They remind me — it's the closest thing in town to what you'll find in L.A. or New York. This isn't about what's the normal kind of Charlotte nightlife. I couldn't do something with all of my buddies, but I tried to get in as many as possible. It's shaping up to be a great show. Kevin Keck is a great nonfiction writer. Matt Faircloth most people know from The Houstons, but don't know his solo stuff. Jeremy Shane was in the local play Tom Tom and is extremely funny."

While most musicians will be performing solo, Lindsay does hint of some collaborations that are being discussed. If all goes well this weekend, he says the idea of it becoming an annual event is quite possible since most people are home for the holidays.

Frankly, it's just amazing he can find the time for it. When not working on either of the previously mentioned albums, Lindsay has spent a good bit of time on the road in support of Escape.

After the holidays, he has plans for a tour in the northwestern U.S., followed by shows around SXSW. When that's over in the early spring, Lindsay hopes to work on The Catch Fire record, Rumormill, wrap up Summer and play a "Welcome Home" show at the Visulite.

"The deadline we're putting on it is end of April and there are some exciting things going along with the new record that I can't talk about right now," Lindsay says. "The biggest difference [between Summer and Escape] is that the last one was written as an album and was really indulgent and experimental. This next album, I'm trying to keep it to fewer arrangements and things that will translate better to a four- or five-piece lineup. I'm just trying to streamline it a little. I hope it will be more bold and brazen than the last one."

Just as Lindsay hopes his albums will showcase all sides of his musical abilities, he hopes that the Christmas Party will help to showcase different sides of what the city has to offer.

"Everyone is broke around the holidays, so it's a great show for only five bucks," he says. "It's a mix of bigger names and some performance artists and musicians that are up-and-comers on the scene. I could have brought in people from other cities like Chapel Hill, but I want to show people how much talent is right here. I'm just trying to do a real variety show and do something people in Charlotte haven't seen before."

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