Still a more than worthwhile listen despite the passing of the Christmas season, ‘Everlasting’ by Emish is a twelve song collection. It revolving around Yuletide-themed covers delivered in Emish’s singular style.
Hailing from New York State’s Hudson Valley area may seem to make them a rather improbable vehicle for folk-influence Celtic rock, but the five piece outfit has parlayed subverting those basic expectations into multiple releases, high profile festival appearances, live dates, and the universal respect of fans and observers who have come into their orbit since the band’s 2007 debut This Light.
Everlasting finds Emish working at or near the pinnacle of their powers and the fantastic imagination they shape these standards with ensures that generations to come will continue to be entertained by their near magical allure.
The warm, near pastoral swing of acoustic guitar driving “What Child Is This?” gives this an inviting feel from the first and the mood is complete when lead singer Bobby Curreri’s vocals enter the picture. He duets with Jennifer Curreri on the track and they come together at key points for some outstanding vocal harmonies. Both Jennifer Curreri and second female vocalist Christy Halligan Brown add their singing talents to another fine Bobby Curreri performance with the classic “Joy to the World”, but it’s Halligan Brown’s fiddle playing that imbues it with a delightfully rustic touch.
They vary their instrumental attack yet again with the third track “O Holy Night” and Jennifer Curreri takes over the lead vocal with excellent results. The relatively minimalist approach they take towards the arrangement and performance allows her vocal ample space to shine. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” receives a treatment quite unlike any it has previously earned from anyone thanks to the clipped acoustic guitar rhythm and the moody fiddle work courtesy of Halligan Brown. It has an uptempo pace, as well, quite unlike what we are accustomed to hearing in performances of this song.
“Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” sounds almost bluesy at first before assuming a more customary tone and it ends up coming off as a fine instrumental on an album with fine, top notch singers. They offer up an interesting take on the venerable “Silent Night” that practically transforms it into an acapella performance bringing the band’s three singers together again. The arrangement deploys them in the same way – Bobby Curreri’s voice leads the way with some excellent harmonies courtesy of Jennifer Curreri and Christy Halligan Brown.
Christmas Is Year-Round With Emish
The elegiac heart of “Auld Lang Syne” overcomes a million hamfisted renditions to find near perfect expression in the hands of Emish and Jennifer Curreri’s singing is quite exquisite. They end Everlasting on a decidedly upbeat note with a robust performance of “Jingle Bells” – it’s a choice that reveals much about their intentions for Everlasting.
They absolutely take these songs seriously and have invested immense creative effort in refurbishing them for a modern audience, but Emish is clearly enjoying themselves on Everlasting and never taking themselves too seriously. The sincerity and love of what they do coming from these performances are unmistakable.
Find more music and news by Emish HERE
Hear the full album on SPOTIFY
– review by Jason Hillenburg