Review | Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

Dawn McCarthy and Bonny 'Prince' Billy

Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ BillyChristmas Eve Can Kill You, Domino Records

‘Tis the season for festive releases. Long time collaborators Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy warm our heart cockles with the wistful Christmas Eve Can Kill You. It’s a cover of the Everly Brothers’ song, ahead of a full length record of Everly Brothers covers to be released next year. Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy sing softly simultaneous words that evoke a scene of a lonely wander through festive streets. It’s a story about trying to get some human contact, out in the cold on Christmas Eve, when everyone else is hurrying home to their find their own warm arms to be held in. If this first song is too maudlin, then you can raise a hot toddy to the B side ‘Lovely Kavezit’, another Everly Brothers tune, but altogether more jaunty.

The Christmas season walks a line each year between over-egged chirpiness and shuddering trepidation: families row and make up; people make their plans to be O.K. with being on their own for the season; expectations are fulfilled or disappointed. It’s a heady season of emotions.

This song from Dawn and Billy treads that fine line as well, with breathy bassy harmonies that allow the listener to feel either way: happy or sad, hopeful or resigned. It’s Christmas in a three minute package.

Arike Oke

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