Thursday, June 26, 2008

now playing: Emily Smith: Too Long Away

Too Long Away

A quiet moment as summer’s dusk turns to summer evening, voices call children home and daylight birds give way to those who sing at night, and a glance through a window at a room filled with love -- those are elements Emily Smith transformed in to a lovely and poetic reflection of season’s change and love’s permanence. It’s the opening track on her latest album, called Too Long Away, the first of ten tracks that move between originals and bits of traditional Scots music,.all connected in some way to Smith’s home ground in Dumfries and Galloway in the southwest of Scotland.

Smith is also a keyboard player, both piano and accordion. Her accordion skills come into good use in the song Caledonia, a song of traditional words -- one of those stories about a woman about to be thrown overboard but the ship’s captain rescues and later marries her -- set to a melody by Scottish musician Tony Cuffe, a lively and engaging take on an oft told tale. May Colven is also a traditional tune with the story of a false hearted lover, but May Colven proves his match in the quick stepping tale. Audience of Souls is another song Smith wrote, sparked by a walk in a graveyard near her home. It’s a gentle conversation, and a refreshing point of view about the continuing nature of community. Smith has chosen As I Was a Wandering, a rare occasion of Robert Burns writing from a woman’s point of view, as her nod to Scotland’s best known poet. Winter Song, a bit of bookend to Sunset Hymn, closes out the ten song collection looking at the sometimes unexpected gifts and blessings from what’s often seen as a harsh season.

Smith sings with a clarity and expression that illuminates the heart of the songs, her own and those she’s chosen to cover, and she proves and fine and insightful songwriter as well as a thoughtful interpreter of tradition. She’s well supported by Jaime McLennan on fiddle, guitar, and backing vocals, Ross Milligan on guitar and banjo, Duncan Lyall on double bass, and Luke Plumb on mandolin.

Until now, Smith’s music has been available in the US only if you were lucky enough to catch her on tour. This recording, her most recent, is now available on line, in stores, and for order in the US as well as Europe.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely article, and great video, thanks :)

7:48 PM  

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