Come Bright December – Rosemary Phelan with Emilyn Stam
Rosemary Phelan’s lovingly haunting vocals conspire with Emilyn Stam’s unpredictably gifted piano to offer a surprise with every passing song. In fact, to hear Ms. Stam move from verse to verse within each song, rarely hitting the same note twice much less a phrase, allows us to savor a uniqueness beyond anyone’s imagination. She has toured and recorded with Canada’s beloved fiddle composer, the late Oliver Schroer.
Fresh brass adorn the soundscape with guest harmonies, a dobro from the anonymous producer, Jason Laprade along with Rosemary’s tin whistle and harp allow the album to remain fresh around every corner. Where these songs came from, I do not know; the notes say they are mostly traditional but the last one, For the Beauty of the Earth is a keeper for all times.
The most inspired 33 minutes I’ve had the pleasure to come across in a long time. One can only wonder what these two might come up with in any future collaboration – a hint to the aforementioned artists and producer. This album can be found on the website she manages way up in the Northlands of Toronto, Canada and is available in all physical and virtual forms. Mine even came complete with the North Star shining and the snowy tree lit up. If it comes to you plain – be inventive – get some glitter and you’ll have a treasure in your hands.