Lisa Robbin Young

December is always a whirlwind for me. Holiday shows, the annual Give-back campaign, and my oldest son's birthday. This year, he turned 18! Now that my eldest is officially an adult, we can focus on "the other" holidays this month: Christmas and New Year's Eve!

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. I was lucky enough to be able to share it at a Christmas sing-along for a local church last week. I've got a couple more songs from that event I'll be sharing this week, but the jingle bell hat was super timely for the Sunday before Christmas. Just a few days left, and we're STILL shopping.

Do you have the holidays handled yet? What are YOU hoping to get for Christmas this year?

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This weekend, I was invited to do a short set for a local non-profit holiday party. So Des and I dusted off the road gear and delighted the ladies with a few Christmas favorites. Here's one I've not shared previously: Irving Berlin's 1940's classic "White Christmas."

It's fitting, since last week I did "Rudolph" and those two songs are the biggest selling Christmas songs of all time (White Christmas is #1).

It's still green here in Michigan, albeit cold - hanging in the mid 30's this weekend.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope your December is full of warmth and good cheer.

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One of the things I really enjoy about the 300 songs project is taking requests. Several people suggested I give a listen to Joss Stone - an artist I'd never heard of. Yes. I live under a rock in a teeny tiny town in Midwest America. Don't judge.

I found a copy of her CD at the local thrift shop, which reminded me to check out her music. One song that really stuck out was "Less is More" - a reggae-funk tune that had a soulful groove. But all I could hear, the more I listened, was this ragtime back beat. So naturally, I went to Des and said "can you do this in a ragtime style?"

Yes. He most assuredly can, as today's video illustrates.

So for all you Joss Stone requesters out there, here's a ragtime jazzed up version to enjoy. I dare you to not be trying to Charleston before the end of the tune. The groove is that infectious.

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This week, we're playing fast and loose with Billy Joel. Hopefully, I don't offend him.

I recall an interview - I think during his summer stint on SiriusXM this year - where he said that "Modern Woman" was his least favorite song.

Every entrepreneur I've ever met has a project from their past that makes them shake their head and sometimes cringe - in shame, embarrassment, or just because it's not where they are at this point in their journey. Like a bad Throwback Thursday picture (I'm about six, with braids like Pippi Longstocking), those old bits of our past are things we try to hide, deny, or just wish they didn't exist.

But, sometimes, in all our pouting and stewing, someone else sees beauty.

That was what happened for me when I remembered this piece.

"Ruthless People" was the first R-rated movie I ever saw. I was 11ish at the time. I think my sister and I told Mom we were going to see Karate Kid II (don't judge me!). Instead, we snuck our way into the theater and watched as Helen Slater and Judge Reinhold held Bette Midler hostage in their basement for most of the show. Bette's character has a turning point and she starts working out, lifting paint cans, and reclaiming her figure, her confidence, and her sense of self-worth - all in a classic 80's style montage with a soundtrack courtesy of Billy Joel.

Me, the "Early Bloomer"

As far as I know, Billy's never said why he doesn't like that song. But for me, the lyrics gave me hope: I didn't have to settle. I could be me, completely, and the right guy would appreciate me. I was one of those "early bloomers" - so I looked like a teenager long before I was one. There was a lot of angst that came with having boobs before any of the other girls in my class. And a lot of fear. I wore high-top sneakers - not Italian, but those two-tone Chuck Converse All-Stars were quite the rage in the 80's. I've always been independent. Came from a long line of independent women. The thought of dumbing myself down to appease some guy made my stomach churn - even at 11. I've loved Bette Midler ever since.

Interestingly enough, my husband is quite the "old-fashioned man" and it works.

I really like this song. It was one of the first songs I dreamed of re-imagining in a jazzy, swing style. It will definitely make the final cut of the new album. It was my way of saying thanks and putting my own spin on a tune that changed my pre-teen years (and my perspective on me and my relationships) forever.

"She's got style. She's got her own money. So, she's not another 'honey' you can quickly disarm." - Billy Joel, Modern Woman

If I were to guess, the synthy-pop and hard-driving, frenetic stylings of the original make it a difficult tune to enjoy much beyond it's 1986 birth date. But like so many things, the right setting can make all the difference. So Des and I slowed it down a little, gave it a swingin' groove, and I got to do a little scatting.

Who knows? Maybe Billy will hate it a little less now.

We've all got those things we grimace about from our past

What if, instead, you allowed for the possibility that it wasn't your job to make it perfect, just to get it out into the world? What if the world needed you to create it so that someone else could appreciate it and do their own thing with it?

Can you be okay with that?

Sometimes we make the biggest impact by just showing up and doing the best we can. It's not about perfection, it's about contribution. Here's my contribution - with the help of Des. Enjoy!

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Sometimes we make the biggest impact by just showing up & doing the best we can (tweet this). // I Want A New Drug. Huey Lewis & The News Cover. #300songs

This week's tune is officially the toughest tune we've managed to swing to date. According to Des, taking 80's pop and jazzing it out is about one of the most difficult departures you can do. I was kind of bummed when he said that, because I always thought of Huey Lewis and the News as a band that took some of the best elements of blues and pop-ified them so that more people would be able to enjoy it.

Lucky for us Des is on the case, because he managed to do a bang-up job. Huey Lewis and the News are one of my all-time favorite bands. Growing up I bought every one of their albums (on cassette, remember those?). I still have them, along with several of their tour books. Alas, no autographs yet.

I remember begging my mom to take me to their shows as a kid, but that was not something a welfare family had on their weekly shopping list. Somehow, I managed to win free tickets one year. Mom carted me and a friend 50 miles out of town to see them - grumping the whole way about the cost of gas. This week, they're coming to my hometown for the first time EVER, and all the good seats have been gone for weeks!


So, as a tribute to my favorite band in the history of the world, and in honor of their visit to my hometown this coming weekend, here's our rendition of "I Want A New Drug". Stay tuned 'til the end and catch the new dance Des made up!

Subscribe to Lisa’s YouTube Channel | More from the 300 Songs Project // Made To Love. Toby Mac cover. #300songs

When Des came to visit, I was lucky enough to get two tracks for the new album done.

Yes you heard that - the new album is finally becoming a reality! YAY!

One of the things I've always wanted to tackle was Tobymac's "Made To Love". I've heard it covered and mixed in a couple of different ways, but none of them spoke to me quite like doing a jazzy love song version. After all, there is no greater love, right? Here's our last take:

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Back in May, I was joined on stage by The Damn Whippersnappers for my first virtual concert. It was a fun-filled and amazing day. I've posted clips from that show, but none of them really do justice to the fantastic musicians that played with me that day.

Well, as luck would have it, Des, the keyboardist from that show, has graciously offered to join my in the studio today to record a few tracks for the 300 songs project. He can take a song in any genre and effortlessly move it into a new one. So when I got the idea to do ZZ Top as a jazz piece, he was the first guy I called.

Here we are (and you might hear my 8 year old "playing drums" in the background on this rehearsal clip. In truth, this was both a rehearsal and a performance, as we were recording live both on camera and into the studio board. We're considering making it available as a download. Let us know if you're interested in the comments below.

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Tears of a Clown. Smokey Robinson Cover.

One last clip from the May show. This is our original jazz arrangement of that classic Mowtown hit "Tears of a Clown".

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If you missed the May show, you can catch the replay here.