Emily Smith’s latest album release, Traiveller’s Joy, continues to mark the ascent of this young Scottish artist on the UK folk scene. The album’s focus is on the rich song heritage from the Scottish travelling community. Her refreshing re-interpretations as well as new self-penned songs make this a milestone album in her singing career.
There is a great air of confidence about Traiveller’s Joy, more noticeable than Emily’s previous solo releases. The album’s title track Traiveller’s Joy, is a lovely song taken from a poem by Scottish poet, Helen Fullerton. It tells the tale unrequited love, set in the 1950s around the Glen Shira Hydro-Electric Dam project. Alex, a navvy, falls for a traveller girl who hides her past and has her eyes set on another of higher rank whereas he prefers his wild flower ‘Traiveller’s Joy’.
Emily has penned several tracks on the album, she has a natural ability as a lyricist with some very striking songs such as Still We Dance On:
Riches gained can build a wall
But riches stored in hearts are stronger
There are many highlights but her solo unaccompanied voice is beyond compare on What a Voice. Emily chose an adapated version of this song after hearing a recording of Lizzie Higgins. I was first introduced to the songs of Lizzie Higgins (1929-1993) via the music of Martyn Bennett who sampled What a Voice. Lizzie was born into a settled traveller family in Aberdeen, her mother, Jeannie Robertson was a famous singer and her father Donald (‘Donty’) Higgins, a famous piper. Her death to throat cancer was both tragic and a great loss to those that saw her as a tradition bearer. Emily pays her a magnificent tribute. She puts her whole heart and soul into the song and it makes a very striking finale to a beautiful album.
Guest musicians on the album feature an international line up including Nashville’s Stuart Duncan on fiddle, whom Emily met when performing on ‘Transatlantic Sessions’, Dublin’s Alan Doherty on flute and whistles, Australia’s James Fagan on bouzouki and Icelandic/Scot Signy Jakobsdottir on percussion with regular band mates Duncan Lyall on double bass and producer Jamie McClennan on guitar and fiddle.
Traiveller’s Joy is released on 24th January and will be officially laucnhed at Celtic Connections.
Buy CD: Traiveller’s Joy
4th – One Touch Theatre, Inverness – www.eden-court.co.uk
12th – Walker Theatre, Shrewsbury – www.theatresevern.co.uk
14th – Compass Theatre, Ickenham – www.compasstheatre.co.uk
15th – St David’s Hall, Cardiff – www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk
16th – The Stables, Milton Keynes – www.stables.org
17th – Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury – www.arlingtonarts.co.uk
18th – Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham – www.3hants.gov.uk/ashcroft
19th – Arts Depot, London – www.artsdepot.co.uk
20th – Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton – www.buxtonoperahouse.org
22nd – The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton – www.thebrewhouse.net
23rd – Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham – www.lakesidearts.org.uk
24th – Baston Barn, Baston
25th – The Met, Bury – www.themet.biz
26th – Rose Theatre, Ormskirk – www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre
27th – Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth – www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk