The prolific singer songwriter’s 5th album “Winter Blues” is Emma Russack’s most personal to date. “Thematically, the songs deal with love, loss and confusion in the context of a fairly confusing, complex world. The songs pose many questions but refuse to give answers, and that’s the way I like it. That is not to say that the songs aren’t hopeful; they are – but it is my hope that the listener can engage with the songs freely, answering (or not answering) the questions for themselves in relation to their own lives and experiences”.
Emma gave us a taste of the album in the single “What Is Love?” late in 2018. Recorded for the short film “An
Athlete Wrestling a Python’, Emma writes about the simplicities of love, asking “What Is Love?”. During the song she asks, “is it borrowing a t-shirt?” OR is it “reading over shoulders?”. It is many things! Apart from the personal lyrical content, the other prevalent thing in the song is the piano taking the lead. It also does so on the new single “Winter Blues”. The four-and-a-half-minute single is the album’s centrepiece. Incredibly subtle and incredibly beautiful, the song floats in a sombre key, intermittently dotted by Russack’s contemplations, “blame it on the winter blues”.
A few songs into “Winter Blues” and you are struck by its beauty and left aching for more. Is it the content, the songs, or the subject matter that you are longing for? Whatever it is, the album feels a little different. The songs were captured in a different way this time. Emma explains, “for a year, Liam Halliwell, Dylan Young and myself had been going into Phaedra Studios intermittently to record songs that I had written. We would usually record two songs per session and then mix on the same day. All of the songs were recorded live to tape and always in one take. There were no rehearsals and Liam and Dylan would have to learn the songs in the minutes prior to recording them. It was a fast and exciting process. Once again, John Lee engineered, mixed and mastered the album.
“Winter Blues is the perfect summary of where I am at in my life: vulnerable, open hearted and at peace with my past”.