LIKE a jolly inverted twin of Fight Club, the only rule of Christmas Songwriters’ Club is – no covers.
Co-founder Daniel Abercrombie of Edinburgh band Chutes explains further. “We only want original Christmas songs,” he says. “It’s quite a challenge to write a good Christmas song, especially a happy one, and we don’t know how each songwriter or group is going to approach it until we hear the songs on the night.
“Most of them won’t have been performed before, so it’s quite exciting. There’s such an overdose of the same old Christmas songs at this time of year that it’s refreshing to hear some new ones.”
Describing the show as a “revolving variety night”, he says that each of the multiple acts presented on the Queen’s Hall stage will only have two or three songs each, a set-up which has worked since CSC was founded in 2008 at the Leith Dockers’ Club by the band We See Lights – this is its second year at the Queen’s Hall.
Performers this time include Broken Records, TeenCanteen alongside the Vaselines’ Eugene Kelly, Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, Karine Polwart & Findlay Napier, Miaoux Miaoux, Kid Canaveral, Jo Mango, the Cairn String Quartet and We See Lights themselves.
“We first took part in the Christmas Songwriters’ Club in 2012,” says Carla Easton of TeenCanteen, describing her songwriting process. “Myself and Eugene [Kelly] spent many hours having conversations about the best parts of the festive period, then we wrote sections of the songs and emailed them back and forth ‘til we had a full Christmas story to music. It was called When It’s Starting to Snow and it’s one of my favourite songs I’ve written. It’s disco-inspired, with a harmony driven chorus.”
Abercrombie adds: “This is the sixth year I’ve had to find some festive spirit and write Christmas songs for the Songwriters’ Club.
“It’s especially tricky to write a happy pop song like Wizzard or Slade, so in the past I’ve focussed on remembering loved ones and other sombre things. Although this year I have a reason to be cheerful – a baby boy – so that’s helping.”
• Christmas Songwriters’ Club is at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sunday 22 December, www.christmas-songwriters.com