Covid Christmas Song – Sue McBride (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The pandemic, and all of the disruption it has caused, has seemed to evoke the same response in people as any other psychological or emotional shock. Initial denial that it would not be a problem. Anger at the loss of liberties. Depression brought on by the isolation of lock down and finally acceptance. Most people have reached that final stage now realising that the best way through this morass of moods and emotions is to look for, or better still create your own, silver-linings. Find the humour in situations, embrace the unity and spirit of a species under siege and adopt what they used to call, on my side of the Atlantic at least, The Blitz Spirit.

And that is exactly what Sue McBride has set out to do with her latest release, Covid Christmas Song. We have seen a wave of over-earnest protest songs, and would be politicos stamping their sonic feet in mock rage, now it is time to have fun with it.

Sue McBride has made a name merging the folk music traditions of her Nova Scotia home with a neat line in upbeat and educational music for children and often the two are closer in sound and spirit than modern music pundits, – bearded, pipe-smoking, folk police in cable sweaters, clutching a rare Men of The Deeps recording and often called Brian – would have us believe.

And to that end, CCS, as its friends call it, mixes folk dexterity with lilting lullaby buoyancy, is fun and tongue in check but loaded with social messaging which is about as poignant as it gets at the moment. Perfect for the little ones, great as a slightly-merry sing-along (but of course you must do so without actually opening your mouth…hey, I don’t make the rules), full of throw away laughs but also the perfect musical manifesto for the moment.

It’s going to be an odd Christmas, that’s for sure, but it has been a weird year all round. and CCS is the perfect sonic ending to a far from perfect year. Why let things get you down when you can rejoice in the silliness inherent in the song? Why dwell on the dark days which seem to be largely behind us when you can look to the light at the end of the tunnel? Why let the dark clouds gather over the, admittedly slightly less populated, dinner table when with a shift of perspective you can still have a great time, one which, if nothing else, will make for a great anecdote someday. “Remember that Christmas when….” 

And if all that seems a bit of a difficult task right now, stick on Covid Christmas Song, let its joy and jollity, warmth and humour, flow over you and let it help you take your mind off current events. At least for a while. 

Now wash your hands!

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