Shauna Burns – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is easily one of the more affecting Christmas themed covers you’ll ever hear and stands as yet another example of how the talented Shauna Burns deserves all the notice she’s received and more for her talents as a singer and musician. This flawless interpretation and rejuvenation of a holiday standard from Burns’ new album A Winter Gathering harbors all the mystery and wonder common to such fare, but it also brims over with Burns’ unique and easily identifiable spirit. Her collaborators are obviously very much in tune with her artistic goals and it results in a performance of great cohesiveness and unity that you can scarcely imagine the artist improving on. Burns has traveled a lot of miles and grown immensely since her 2005 debut and “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” shows that she’s far from settling in as a performer and artist. Instead, new horizons await, and there doesn’t seem to be anything she can’t do.
The Celtic flair that’s so much a part of Burns’ music is definitely in force here. She constructs the song around the duel musical axis of violin and piano. Both instruments are certainly tuned into the traditional sound and requirements of this song, but Burns thankfully can’t help but bring her musical imagination to bear on the evolution of this performance. The song’s production bears all the customary hallmarks of her approach, particularly with the clear attention paid to balancing the disparate instruments into a warm, unified whole. There’s a light veneer of post production effects seemingly applied to the performance for a bit of atmosphere, but it’s another facet of the song’s production that enhances the release rather than coming off like unneeded dross. The song’s presentation handles the violin particularly well while the piano, in some subtle ways, is obviously much more married to Burns’ voice in the mix.
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is definitely a familiar traditional Christmas tune, but certainly doesn’t enjoy some of the obviously greater visibility of other counterparts. Burns makes it an inviting experience, however, and gives immediacy to language you don’t usually find in popular song today. To her credit, she’s never too reverential, but she never makes any effort to render the song easily digestible for modern audiences. She gives us the song and her take on it. It could hardly be more glorious. Shauna Burns, over a decade into her recording career, comes through on this single as a performing artist in full command and at the peak of her considerable powers. She fills “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” with a grace and presence that’s a product of her immense heart and skill. In diminished and often dismaying times, it’s a comfort to any serious lover of music that an artist like Shauna Burns is still out there, making music on her own terms, informed with intelligence and love.
YOU TUBE: http://www.youtube.com/shaunaburns