Emily Smith has such a clear, open and honest vocal delivery that you can feel her emotional connection with each of the songs in her aptly named seasonal album Songs for Christmas.
This is a carefully chosen parcel of offerings balanced to reflect the elements of Christmas, so cosily familiar to us all. There is a sprinkling of well-known carols, a dusting of newly-penned originals and a toast of some older and newer songs, each with a special relevance to the festive season.
There is such a tangible connection with the past when songs are sung in their original tongue and so it is with the traditional Scots song Christ Has My Hairt, Ay. Smith delivers this song in Old Scots dialect, lilting and positive, and complemented with new harmonies and arrangement. She skilfully bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary whilst preserving the authenticity of this lovely song.
In contrast, Winter Song is one of Emily Smith’s new songs and captures all that is warm, comforting and cosy about this special time of year, painting vivid pictures of familiar winter sights, sounds and scenes. Fresh and crisp with inspired vocals, guitar and fiddle playing.
Smith’s rendition of that well-loved Christmas carol Silent Night is beautiful and reflective. A gentle acoustic accompaniment brings a new and fresh country vibe to this traditional Christmas classic.
Popular in Scotland and Ireland, The Parting Glass is a well-loved song whose origins can be traced back to the 17th Century. Smith’s interpretation of this old classic is enigmatic, with light accompaniment and atmospheric setting. The touching lyrics are delivered beautifully and with emotion and you can’t help but feel a connection with those who have parted.
The pace moves more upbeat in Find Hope, a sprightly tale of festive joy and inspiration, with driving guitar rhythms and fiddle harmonies. This is another fine Emily Smith song, perfectly conceived, arranged and performed.
Songs for Christmas, is an album to play when it’s bitter outside, the fire is crackling and a festive dram is being poured, prior to quiet contemplation of the approaching joys of Christmas. It is clear that Emily Smith has a real love of, and connection to her songs and music such that you can almost hear her smiling throughout this album.
What a lovely way to spend Christmas in company with such a talented performer and such a special collection of songs.Andy McMillan
Released on 2 December 2016 on White Fall Records.
1. Find Hope
2. Christ Has My Hairt, Ay
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
4. Heard From Heaven Today
5. Little Road To Bethlehem
6. Merry Christmas To All And Goodnight
7. The Blessings Of Mary
8. Silent Night
9. Winter Song
10. Santa Will Find You
11. The Parting Glass
12. A Life That’s Good