‘Songs For Christmas’ by Emily Smith –beautifully rendered tradition and self-penned originals(November 20, 2016)
There’s something about the words ‘Christmas songs’ that fill me with dread ... that's because in the main they are outpourings of sugar-sweet sentiment, regurgitated ‘festive standards’ or crammed with overbearing jollity. That might sound like I'm adopting a ‘bah humbug’ view of Christmas but that's not true. However, what is true is the arrival of a recent album has somewhat altered my opinion of Christmas songs ... that’s because it was ‘Songs For Christmas’ from Emily Smith.
Not a touch of schmaltz in sight, no gushing sentiment or trace of ersatz joy in evidence, ‘Songs For Christmas’ is quite simply a collection of beautifully rendered traditional songs, self-penned originals and covers, delivered by one of Scotland’s most individual voices. The list includes the ancient and now barely known ‘Christ Has My Hairt, Ay’, the American folk classic ‘Heard From Heaven Today’ the familiar and well-loved ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, ‘The Blessings of Mary’ and ‘Silent Night’ ... each given a fresh feel. In addition there are two finely crafted Emily Smith originals: ‘Find Hope’ and ‘Winter Song’, and for sheer magnificence there’s a beautiful take on ‘The Parting Glass’.
‘Songs For Christmas’ by Emily Smith, releases in time for the festivities on 2 December. Please note, this album is not just for the 'special' time of Christmas, it’s definitely a year-round listen. However, one thing is certain, ‘Songs For Christmas’ will be heard in the Carroll household this Christmas time.
Review: Tim Carroll