Emily Smith and guests return to the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh with their annual Christmas show ‘Songs For Christmas’. If you have not yet been to one of Emily’s Christmas shows then the best way to describe it is a warm hearted and friendly evening of songs and music (old and new) in the company of talented musicians with mild audience participation…a sort of run up to Christmas evening that many families once had before the intrusion of the never ending stream of television and media banality broke the spell for many.
Emily has one of those timeless clear voices that perfectly suits our ideals of crisp and clear winter days. Opening the set with an old Scots song “Christ Has My Hairt, Ay”, the scene was set not just for Christmas songs, but also Advent and Winter songs. Of course, more well known traditional songs including “Silent Night” and “In The Bleak Midwinter” (possibly my favourite Christmas song) have to be here too, but they are balanced with newer songs from Emily like “Find Hope”. Also in the set, an interesting version of the Joni Mitchell Classic “Urge For Going”.
In clear contrast to Emily Smith’s vocals, guest vocalist Barbara Dickson performed two very old sacred songs “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Solace” and “Creator of The Stars of Night”. There is something about these songs when you hear them performed simply like this that make you wonder if perhaps people once understood the power of music and words far better than many of us today do.
Joining Emily on stage for this show were her band Jamie McClennan (guitar, fiddle & vocals), Anna Massie (guitar, fiddle & vocals) and Ross Hamilton (bass & vocals).
This show obviously runs to a tried and tested format, but there is nothing wrong with that as it works well and delivers exactly what the posters outside promise to do.
Review by Tom King