‘Echoes’ by Emily Smith - unadorned and unpretentious splendour(December 05, 2013)
Emily Smith sings traditional Scottish songs. She does so with a heart-touching voice that commands complete attention - each song given life and meaning. Her latest solo album ‘Echoes’, offers ten outstanding examples of that voice at work.
‘Echoes’ touches on tradition with inspired versions of the Dundee-based narrative of ‘Reres Hill’, the seductive ‘The Sower’s Song’ with its hopes for fruitful harvest, and a vibrant take on the myth of ‘King Orfeo’ of which there are dozens, complete with finely placed guitar breaks. There’s the humble sorrow of ‘The Final Trawl’ a lament about the scrapping of a fishing vessel, by Archie Fisher, a fine Scottish singer-songwriter, done due justice by Emily’s delivery. A change of mood introduces the classic murder ballad about a girl drowned by her sister, ‘Twa Sisters’ - another song of many different lyrics, a short step into an inspired version of Darrell Scott’s ‘The Open Door’ - and then for me the stand out track, the superbly sung and deeply wistful ‘John O’Dreams’.
Along with Emily, the musical contributors and guest list on ‘Echoes’ reads like a musicians who’s who - multi-instrumentalists Jamie McClennan and Matheu Watson, bassist Ross Hamilton and percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir are joined by Jerry Douglas, Aoife O'Donovan, Kris Drever, Tim Edey, Natalie Haas and Rory Butler.
‘Echoes’ is a poised and perfect voice creating an album of unadorned and unpretentious splendour. There’s nothing here that should not be and everything that’s needed..
Reviewer: Dan Holland