So, yes, after putting it off for quite a while I’ve been up to Motherwell - the Foundry Music Lab to be precise, to lay down nine tracks for a wee acoustic Christmas album. For the last 4 years I’ve been on tour in late November/December doing predominantly Living Room gigs delivering my version of a mix of Carols and seasonal songs and some of the stories behind them. Of course every time I do one of these events people ask for the accompanying album…and I’ve told them that I’ve never had the courage to go record it. Maybe it was time pressure, maybe it’s been the resources (lack of !) or maybe in all honesty it’s been that nagging feeling deep in my subconscious that Christmas albums are, well…cheesy. Oh c’mon I hear you say - you’re out there singing this stuff every year in front of live audiences so what’s the problem ? Fair point. But y’know there’s an atmosphere at the gigs that’s hard to get across on a recording - the intimacy, the look on the faces of gig goers when they hear a lyric that’s been familiar to them for years sung with a different melody or accompaniment, when they’ve heard the context in which it was written and for that moment the song is reclaimed from the sad commercial conveyor belt that it’s been slung onto every December (who am I kidding - every Oct to Dec) since Christmas shopping was invented. So I’ve been reticent to join the queue as it were.
However, I think lately, and a bit like a parent struggling to let go - I’ve been convinced that the songs are quite capable of holding their own. Of course they can speak for themselves and rise beyond anyone’s ‘cheesy-ometer’ - including mine. Stripped down of much superfluous backing, with some songs re-interpreted through original melodies and with my best attempt at those ever precious first takes, I’m hoping that what has come out will be a welcome addition to any seasonal collection. I’m hoping that it will sit comfortably and without cringing somewhere between the Kings College Choir Collection and Bob Dylan’s “Christmas In The Heart”. And, as a first for me, when I say ‘sit’ of course I mean reside digitally. This album will not, in my current plans anyway, see physical form. It will be released on CD Baby, i-Tunes and Spotify etc, and there will be download cards available at all my winter gigs for the foreseeabe future.
Seasons Greetings !
So, we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime I’ve started this little mini-site to add more thoughts as the songs make their way out into the world over the next few months…..