SW Sounds: Francine Honey

Leamington Americana artist Francine Honey reveals the backstory behind her new holiday single, 'Take Me To The North Pole.'

Leamington artist channels a white Christmas during a Nashville heatwave

The latest release from Leamington's Francine Honey is the holiday album, Take Me To The North Pole. (Supplied by Francine Honey)

SW Sounds is a weekly feature that profiles a southwestern Ontario artist and their new music. Listen for it Mondays on Afternoon Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One.

Music can sometimes come from the unlikeliest of places. This might be true of the latest release from Leamington's Francine Honey.

Her new album Take Me To The North Pole celebrates the magic and wonder of winter and the holiday season. 

You'd never guess it was born in a Nashville heatwave.

What made you decide to do a Christmas album?

I've always wanted to record a Christmas album. I love Christmas music. I will listen to Christmas music in the summertime. I love being able to get together with family — the snow,  the hot chocolate mix...

I do really love the snow. In the winter time, my father would race snowmobiles. So, a Christmas album was something that I always wanted to do. I turned 55 last year — which is a big number — and I thought: wow, when am I actually going to do that? And I just didn't want to wait any longer.

Tell us about the album's title track and lead single.

'Take Me to the North Pole' is really a song about escaping into that world of Christmas. There is so much negativity in the world these days, and I really wanted to write a song that would allow you to escape. So, I put a lot of my favourite Christmas stories into the song, like Frosty the Snowman and the old Grinch cartoon. I wanted to write a song that basically said 'Hey Santa, take me to the North Pole. I really need to escape into that world of Christmas.'

I actually wrote the song in August of this year. I pulled my tree out and got out some Christmas decorations and watched all those Christmas shows and really put myself into the spirit of Christmas. And when I recorded the album, it was in September in Nashville, and it was actually a heatwave. And so, the song itself is really about escaping to the North Pole, and we purposely recorded it with this Southern, swampy, Mississippi Delta kinda feel to to the song. 

This interview was edited and condensed. Have a listen to 'Take Me To The North Pole' as part of Francine Honey's SW Sounds profile:

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Chris dela Torre

Host of The Homestretch

Chris dela Torre is the host of The Homestretch on CBC Radio One in Calgary. He is the former host of Afternoon Drive in southwestern Ontario, and has guesthosted several national CBC programs, including q, The Story From Here and Mornings on CBC Music.