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A Steam Donkeys Christmas at Sportsmen’s Tavern

Local shepherds, innkeepers, little drummer boys, and wise men from distant lands, as well as members of the local honky tonk community are praising tomorrow night’s (12/17, 9:30pm) performance by the Steam Donkeys at the Sportsmen’s Tavern as a window into the true meaning of Christmas.

The quartet—a globally recognized think-tank on issues relating to great live music played in gin mills—will make a major announcement based on its findings during the performance.

“Merriam-Webster defines a chestnut as ‘something (as a musical piece or a saying) repeated to the point of staleness,'” observes front-man and shameless self-promoter Buck Quigley. “So we won’t be covering any Christmas songs that could be seen as cliche. Our double-blind taste tests show that nothing’s worse than stale chestnuts—roasted on an open fire or not.”

Although the band’s name is derived from a steam-powered winch developed by the logging industry during the industrial revolution, for many, it’s the image of an actual donkey that sticks when thinking of the group. Quigley is fine with that, especially at Christmastime, where donkeys enjoy a more prominent historical place than reindeer, as evidenced by this painting by 14th century Italian artist Bernardo Daddi.

“Donkeys were there in Bethlehem 2011 years ago, as they have been at many controversial municipal nativity scenes across the US over the years,” he says. “They’re as Christmas-y as angels, stars, and oxen.”

When pressed about the festive nature of oxen, Quigley looks stung.

“Alright. Frankincense. They’re as Chrismas-y as frankincense,” he counters.

The band will be performing a broad selection of songs from their 20-year career, including “Christmas Travelers,” an original that’s been a staple of their holiday shows for over a decade.

Quigley says the band will also perform some choice seasonal covers, and bring a bunch of CDs to sell as stocking stuffers, “in the spirit of the season.”


  • d.r.newcleon

    I had a donkey once, at a rural home I owned up near the plains of Lake Ontario. On this one day, I was in the middle of doing a front brake job on a 1970 Chevelle that I was driving and I had a pan of gasoline sitting beside the tire to clean the parts in. While I was up and underneath the upper wheel well, the donkey walked up unseen and don’t you know it drank that whole darn pan of gas before I could stop it. Before I could get up from the mechanics- creeper and off the ground, the donkey had started to walk very quicgley around the house and garage. Not really running but quite a bit faster than it usually walked and I didn’t want it to get sweaty and have to wipe it down. At first, since it didn’t seemt to bother the animal and no signs of stress were immediately apparent, I just let the durn thing walk around the buildings over and over and over again. Probably at least two hours worth as I had time to finish the brakes. That donkey must have went around at least 40 or 50 complete times around the house and garage and then it fell over and on its side to the ground. I went a running. At first, I thought that it had died and I was in shock, but thankfully, it didn’t die. It was just out of gas.

    From that point on, around my property, I only use steam powered.