Mary Rice Hopkins

The Second Day of Mellowmas: White Rice and Broccoli

Jeff: Ho, ho, ho! Happy second day of Mellowmas, old pal!

Jason: You’re kidding. We’re only on goddamn day two?

Jeff: I know, right? I ordered a bunch of alcohol after we finished yesterday, because clearly I didn’t have enough on hand.

Jason: I started clearing out my garage in the hopes I could get my car in there. I figured I’d just sit back, listen to some Mellowmas potentials with the engine running…it’s almost too easy.

Jeff: That sounds awfully nice, the way you describe it. Now let me present you with something that does not sound nice.

Jason: At Mellowmas? The hell you say.

Jeff: Jason, have you ever heard of something called Mary Rice Hopkins?

Jason: Yeah, hang on, let me go to the cabinet.

Fuck, this is Uncle Ben.

Jeff: Yes, I know it sounds like a Chinese restaurant in Des Moines, but it’s actually a person. And oh hey, would you believe me if I told you she released an album called A Very Mary Christmas?

Jason: You know what? I would.

Jeff: You’re damn right you would. Oh, some other things about Mary Rice Hopkins.

One, she owns a ukulele. Two, she owns a Christmas top even more garish than the Liberace vest you bought me.

Jason: Three, she encourages, equips and inspires through music and related resources?

Jeff: Yes! And those resources include album covers depicting Mary strumming her ukulele in a garish Christmas top in front of giant candy canes in the snow.

Jason: Whoa, look at that top! heads to eBay


Jason: She has a song called “Sheep Party”?

Jeff: In fact she does.

Jason: Her teeth are really, really white.

Jeff: Jason, you have no idea how really, really white she is. But don’t take my word for it.

Jason: Can’t I please take your word for it?

Jeff: Here. “Unwrap the Gift.”

Jason: Okay….ugh, it’s a box of crap.

Jeff: Let me clue you in a little as to what awaits you here. Say the title out loud, won’t you?

Jason: “Unwrap the Gift.” I just said it alone in my apartment and now I feel stupid.

Jeff: And then imagine to yourself what might possess a very white woman who seems to be trying a little too hard to look cool to use a word containing the “rap” sound in a song title.

Jason: gasp NO.

Jeff: I’ve never seen one of them, but I think this is like the part in the Saw movies where the people figure out what they have to do to get out of the trap.

Jason: I feel like I already know what’s coming, and yet another part of me knows I have no idea what’s coming.

Jeff: You are so right, my friend.

Jason: This is the delight and fear of Mellowmas.

Mary Rice Hopkins, “Unwrap the Gift” (download)

Jason: What? This isn’t so bad.

Jeff: Funky!

Jason: It’s just bluegrassy.

Jeff: Sing it, Mary Rice Hopkins!

Jason: We all like to open our gifts from family and friends! I can get behind that.

Jeff: Not under a tree!

Jason: Dude, you blew it. This song is fine.

Jeff: Shhh.

Jason: Okay, it’s a little Jesus-y for me, but hey, it’s Christmas.

Jeff: Unwrap the gift of Christmas, Jason! You’re gonna be free!

Jason: I mean, I GUESS if you want to get RELIGIOUS about Christmas…

Jeff: J-e-s-u-s!

Jason: J-E-S-U-oh crap.

Jeff: Unwrap! Unwrap!

Jason: J-E-S-U-S-O-S

Jeff: I guarantee at least one pair of khakis was involved in the making of this song.

Jason: Did Dr. Elmo co-write this?

Jeff: This Christmas gift is Jesus, Jason. Mary Rice Hopkins and her nutty banjo-playing friends put Jesus in a box. They didn’t leave him under your tree, though.

J-E-S-U-S! Scratch it, Jesus! Yo! Yo!

Jason: J-E-S-U-S-H-O-O-T-M-E

Well, that’s over.

Jeff: That’s about the most Mellowmas statement of all.

Clearly that song wasn’t indicative of what Mary Rice Hopkins is really all about. Maybe we should play something that highlights her true strengths a little more, just to be fair.

Jason: Are you serious? A second song?

Jeff: You know what, I really was feeling a little guilty, but then I read the following sentence in her bio: “In 2005, Mary teamed up with puppeteer Darcie Maze.”

Jason: What’s a Darcie Maze?

Jeff: I have no idea, but I love that the sentence “She is committed to using her music and ministry to share God’s love and spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ” is followed by a footnote.

Jason: “*Note: News not guaranteed to be good”

Jeff: I have to admit that I’m sort of intrigued by this song title “Manger of My Heart.”

Jason: So what’s this manger, and what’s it doing on my heart?

Jeff: Well, that’s what’s got me curious. How can one have a manger of one’s heart? And if one has a heart manger, must one allow a virgin to give birth in it?

Jason: Sounds messy.

Jeff: It really does. On the other hand, I’m sure there won’t be anything whatsoever messy about this song. Again, I’m sure khakis will be involved.

Jason: As long as it’s not another kid, I’m fine.

Mary Rice Hopkins, “Manger of My Heart” (download)

Jeff: Oh, man. How about that guitar?

Jason: I love that!

Wait, what?

Jeff: Aaaaah! A kid! NO!




Jeff: I’m focusing on that cheesy digital delay on the guitar.

Jason: Jeff, I’m blanking. Who did they steal that guitar sound from?

Jeff: scream of anguish

Jason: It’s like a famous ’80s song.

Jeff: I just reached the chorus. Help.

Jason: I bow to worship at the manger of my heart!

Jeff: “I surrender all to the manger of my heart.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.

Jason: I think it’s a fart joke.


Jason: Where’d the other guitar go? COME BACK, AWFUL GUITAR!

Jeff: Do you think the guys from South Park could have written a more spot-on parody of a Christian Christmas song than this? It has all the lyrical touchstones, and none of it makes a lick of sense.

Jason: I smell a challenge — no, wait, that’s coming from the manger of my heart.

Jeff: “Oh, that? That wasn’t me, baby. That was the manger of my heart. It had broccoli for lunch.”

Jason: cackle

  • Beau

    The second tune is nearly every CCM track I’ve heard. “Hey! We can sound like more secular musicians! Listen to that Quincy Jones-style muted guitar and drum machine! And some acoustic finger-picking like you might hear in country music! Not enough? How about a funk-slapping bass? We’ll get a guy who can ‘rap’! How about some R&B melismatic flourishes? Drum solo!”

    Oh yeah, and then the lyrics, which basically add “Jesus” to the Rutles tune “Love Life.”

  • dslifton

    That rhythm guitar part is pretty much based on everything Dean Parks or Hugh McCracken recorded in the 1980s.

  • DwDunphy

    Wait…Mary Hopkin wrote a Christmas album and we didn’t know abou — oh wait, no…

  • Terje Fjelde

    To be fair, Jeff Giles uses that guitar sound extensively on his own hit “12 Items or Lust (Foxy Checkout Mama)”:

  • dslifton

    Dean Parks played on that? I figured he’d get Lukather.

  • Terje Fjelde

    Yeah, I think they recorded it back to back with Jeff’s Iglesias duet, so Parks was already in the house.

  • DwDunphy

    Whatever happened with that Iglesias duet by the way? I heard somebody got punched.

  • CraigoryVOL

    And wow, Mellowmas 2012 is off and running with TWO straight days of children’s-voice-laden coal for our stockings (with which we may very well hang ourselves).

    Presumably, there is an audience for this besides us Mellowmas-ers? Will these children grow up to make decisions that affect the rest of us? Do I sound old yet? I feel it…I feel it more every day of Mellowmas.

  • mlk

    “Un-rap”, indeed. Perfect title. When I first started reading this series I thought it must be hard to find enough bad songs to fit the piece. Now I’m thinking the hard part might really be figuring which crap to cut.

  • Michael Burke

    See, this the genius of Jeff and Jason. “Unwrap the Gift” is perfectly benign for about 50 seconds and then, without warning careens into a tree made of Jeebus and white people rapping.

  • ozarkmatt

    //Yes, I know it sounds like a Chinese restaurant in Des Moines//

    You know? As somebody who spends a lot of time pissed off about how my chosen town and/or state are portrayed by folks that have no idea what they are talking about – I found this funny.

    Dammit Giles.

  • Brett Alan

    Actually, she does have a Christmas EP:

  • Chris Holmes

    Sadly, Mary’s teeth are only the second whitest thing about this.

  • Ted

    Why does the guitar on “Manger of my Heart” sound like something Mike & The Mechanics used?

  • jefito

    Mike Rutherford can afford a few mangers, right?

  • Ted

    True. Maybe that’s his next band project: Mike & The Mangers

  • mstgator

    My first thought was “Follow You, Follow Me” by Genesis. So Mike Rutherford it is!

  • muteKi

    Mary Rice Hopkins and Darcie Maize. My god, who the hell is the crazy person giving sentient foodstuffs recording contracts?

  • jefito


  • el bandito

    I’m thinking “Don’t you Forget About Me” for the guitar lines