Few can break down my resistance to the festive season starting before Advent. Yet here I am, in early November, listening to Christmas music, and enjoying every minute of it. The person who has managed to assuage my Scrooge-like insistence is Lucy Blu. And her new EP ‘Got It Covered Christmas’ is that rare seasonal record that manages to transcend the stereotypical feel of this time of year. Yes, the fuzziness remains on opening track ‘The Christmas Song’, making me long for the glowing light of a crackling fire. But the upbeat bluesy vibe, particularly in the guitar solo, brings a playfulness not often found in subsequent versions of Nat King Cole’s more relaxed and reflective original.
Similarly, Blu replaces the grittiness of Chris Rea’s vocals on ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ with her luxuriant and velvety own. In doing so, she brings the song into the warm light of day. It makes it a journey through the expansive surroundings of a sun-drenched highway rather than the late-night intimacy of a dark, starlit night. Yet she manages to retain a sense of whimsy that keeps it grounded in winter but without any sign of frost, achieved by the delightful and delicate performance on her acoustic guitar.
It is the acoustic guitar that is her sole companion on this follow-up to her original ‘Got It Covered’ EP, released earlier this year. There, we bore witness to the strong and soul-infused vocals that have contributed to her success as a solo artist on the independent music scene so far. This Christmas edition finds that voice as good as ever though perhaps more versatile too. On ‘White Christmas’, she manages to evoke both the old-style jazz crooners and the early noughties pop divas to create a vocal sound that treads a compelling middle ground. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes this concoction a success; only to say that as I sit looking out at the autumn leaves on the tree, it does help transport me to the snowy climes of the lyrics’ dreaming.
The fourth and final track that Lucy Blu takes on is the carol ‘O Holy Night’. Here, the guitar holds fast to the same tempo and volume throughout; whilst the steady and seamless amplification of her vocals gently grips the listener in her telling of the story of ‘our dear Saviour’s birth’. It is a performance that would see her more than hold her own on the CMA Christmas stage alongside Carrie Underwood. To that end, it is a real shame that she won’t have the opportunity to grace any stage at all this year for us to experience it live. No matter. The atmosphere that Lucy Blu creates on ‘Got It Covered Christmas’, with just herself and her acoustic guitar, is nothing short of stunning. It is an exemplary record that transcends the festive season whilst wrapping you tightly in its yuletide subject matter at the same time.