. : : December 5th, 2012 : : .
A lot can change in a year.
This time last year, I wasn’t feeling very festive. Years of working in a shopping mall have soured me on Christmas a bit. The incessant Christmas songs blaring over the PA the minute Hallowe’en ends, the unabashed consumerism, the entitlement and attitudes from stressed out holiday shoppers, the hustle-bustle of the crowds… well, it wasn’t the magical season of merriment that it was when I was a kid.
If there’s one thing Canadian singer-songwriter and Juno award winner Meaghan Smith isn’t lacking, however, it’s youthful merriment and wonder. It should come as no surprise, then, that she has more Christmas albums than she does albums of original material (at least, at the time of this writing) and that she crosses Canada annually performing holiday themed shows littered with renditions of well-loved (and well-derided) Christmas songs, original holiday tunes, and maybe a regular song here and there just to switch things up.
In 2012, Meaghan wasn’t able to schedule in a solo headlining gig in Toronto, but instead joined The Barra MacNeils: An East Coast Christmas set being held at Massey Hall. Tickets went for up to $70 before taxes and service fees, which were sure to bring the best seats to north of the $100 mark, so I opted instead to take a day trip out to Hamilton the following day. $15 cash at-door being offered at The Pearl Company was a much more palatable price, with the added bonus of Meaghan not having to share the stage or set time! 😉
The seats were general admission, and we were their early and grabbed great, slightly elevated seats slightly off to the side, but in line with the speakers for the best recording potential. And although I’m known as being a bit of a Christmas humbug, I have to admit feeling at least a little more festive leaving the Pearl Company that night.
But, like I said, a lot can change in a year.
With a new 8-month old son at home, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. I’ve found myself getting excited for Christmas, singing along to carols on the radio, smiling at the window displays, forgiving the general chaotic swarms of crowds. So, on this, the anniversary of the Meaghan Smith show last year, I decided to revisit the recording that got lost in the holiday shuffle last year, and give everyone a chance to enjoy this fantastic recording of a great holiday set. It’s especially appropriate because scheduling conflicts have restricted Meaghan and her Hus-band Jason Mingo to only performing a handful of shows across the country this year — and none in Ontario whatsoever!
This may be the closest I get to a Meaghan Smith holiday show this year — a holiday tradition that is unfortunately missed this year, amidst all the new ones starting — but it’s good enough. Nae! It’s great enough. If you’re in the festive mood, you need this recording. If you’re not yet in a festive mood, you need this recording. If you’re a Meaghan Smith fan, you need this recording. If you’ve never heard of her and despise Christmas … well, maybe you don’t need this recording, but you should probably listen to it anyhow. I bet it changes your mind on at least one of those things!
Meaghan is in fine form here, introducing her songs with remarkably charming stories that, although can often meander, never falter from being charismatic. The recording is exceptional; undoubtedly one of the best I’ve ever recorded. It’s a shame I didn’t give this tape the attention it deserved last year, but this year, forgive me for tardiness let it be my gift to you, dear reader, from Meaghan, Jason, and myself. Happy holidays!
02. A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes [Disney]
04. Christmas Time Is Here [Vince Guaraldi Trio]
06. If You Only Had A Heart
08. Sucks To Be You
10. I Know
12. The Little Drummer Boy [trad’l]
14. In The Bleak Midwinter [trad’l]
16. Christmas Kiss
18. Silver Bells [trad’l]
20. Zat U Santa Claus [Louis Armstrong]
26. Soft Touch
29. It Snowed
31. When You Wish Upon A Star [Disney]
34. You Got Out
36. Silent Night [trad’l]