THE LOWER LIGHTS, SALT LAKE MASONIC TEMPLE, Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 9-10 and Thursday-Friday, Dec. 12-13, 7:30 p.m., $12 

The Lower Lights are a treat to hear perform any time the unwieldy collective manages to gather enough of its members to do a show, but these annual Christmas shows are something special. It's impossible to be  a cynic--even amid the typical holiday mayhem that's more about commerce than the spirit of the season--when you witness the joy on stage and in the audience at these gigs. The setting inside the Masonic Temple certainly adds to the vibe, but hearing the voices of some of the best singers in the state harmonize through a variety of carols and gospel-tinged country is the real gift. The group has a new album of seasonal fare, The Lower Light Sing Noel, that I can definitely recommend--particularly its delving into less-familiar Christmas songs, and let's all hope they throw in some Carter Family or Hank Williams. Santa would like that. (Photo by Justin Hackworth)