Sam Fender’s stark, ghostly ‘Winter Song’ – Review

While it isn’t exactly oozing Christmas cheer, Sam Fender’s ‘Winter Song’ proves perfectly apt to close a cruel year.

Fender’s sparse, chilly arrangement of the Lindisfarne song strips back his usual bustle to little more than a piano and Fender’s own booming, doom-laden baritone. It’s a career best performance from him.

There isn’t a lot more you can say about this. It’s such a pure & visceral experience, and a song to so unique to North East. Down on the Longsands on a misty December afternoon, with the cold North Sea air whipping across your face, you feel this song, in a way that elswehere you may not. It’s the kind of rare cover that inhabits the original so completely that it does away with the idea of covers altogether.

There was a darkness to Hypersonic Missiles, the debut dropped earlier this year, but ‘Winter Song’ is borderline fatalistic. Fender is ready, once again, to take up the mantle of the homeless and disenfranchised in a manner that melts any cynicism away. As on ‘Spice’, he has a longstanding sympathy for the plight of the homeless, and ‘Winter Song’ comes courtesy of People Of The Streets, a non-profit for disadvantaged groups.

A brilliant, haunting song.

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