Emily Smith: Traiveller's Joy

~ Thursday, 6 January 2011
For many Emily Smith is the darling of the Scottish folk scene and it is perhaps because of her voice rather than for her songwriting skills that she has achieved this. With past work, for me, her strength has been as an interpreter of other peoples work and traditional standards, and it is indeed the case again on this album.

The album opens on the title track, a song based on the words of Scottish poet Helen Fullerton which is brought to life by the whistle playing of Alan Doherty and the haunting fiddling of Stuart Duncan. The self penned Take Me Home is uninspiring stuff that fails to rise above the ordinary as does Butterfly but she shows that she is capable of writing strong contemporary folk in the piano driven Dreams and Lullabies. Still We Dance On is further proof that she is maturing as a writer and is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Smith shines brightest on the Richard Thompson penned Waltzing's For Dreamers which sounds like it could have been written especially for her. Her version of the folk standard Gypsy Davy is a new twist on the arrangement which is interesting rather than engaging.

This is an enjoyable album but not one that will set the heather on fire. It is that voice that sticks out most with the songs and arrangements playing second fiddle, so it is appropriate that she closes the album on the unaccompanied What A Voice where you will indeed find yourself saying what a voice.


[][][] (3/5)