Home for the Holidays: A Christmas Songbook

The Skinny | 13 Dec 2016

A new 40-track charity compilation from some of Scotland's best bands launches this weekend; we find out more about the project from one of its ringleaders, Book Group's Michael Morrison

As Kermit the Frog once said, 'tis the season to be jolly and joyous, and a host of bands from across Scotland (and beyond) have come together in the festive spirit for a new project in support of a very worthy cause. Home for the Holidays is a festive songbook in aid of Shelter Scotland, featuring nigh on forty tracks by bands from across the scene, launching with a two-day, two-stage bonanza at Summerhall in Edinburgh on 16 & 17 December.

The Home for the Holidays project has its origins in a pair of much-loved projects from the capital's music scene. The first began over a decade ago; a string of charity gigs entitled 'Gimme Shelter' and organised by Graeme Anderson of Edinburgh band Book Group. Anderson's bandmate Michael Morrison explains: "The first one was about ten years ago, and a huge amount of Scotland's music scene got involved over four or five years: Sons & Daughters, Frightened Rabbit, Broken Records, Down The Tiny Steps, BMX Bandits, The Phantom Band, Steve Mason, Findo Gask, De Rosa and many, many more."

The other strand of the project comes in the form of the Christmas Songwriters' Club, a long-running series in which bands perform original Christmas tracks. Morrison says: "We had always been big fans of (and sometime contributors to) The Christmas Songwriters’ Club; which was perhaps Edinburgh’s finest festive tradition. We kind of wanted to keep their flag flying, so we got in touch with a lot of our friends, and then a lot of people we didn’t know, to find out who else wanted to release a Christmas song.

"Like the Songwriters’ Club though, we wanted it to be a charity thing, which is where Shelter Scotland came in. We know Bart Owl, who works with Shelter. Thankfully they got right behind the idea, and were keen to reintroduce the Gimme Shelter events anyway – in some form – so the timing was perfect!" 

This year's crop includes tracks from Jonnie Common, The Pictish Trail, Meursault and a previously-unreleased Frightened Rabbit track, plus poetry from Neu! Reekie!'s Michael Pedersen and a short story from Spook School drummer Niall McCalmey, with a physical songbook and download of each of the tracks set for charity release. Book Group have also contributed new track Christmas Morning Hangover – as Michael puts it, the band were "desperate to record a Christmas song" – and we have a first look at the festive video for the track, drawn from a host of archive home video clips. Watch the video in the player below.

The Home for the Holidays Songbook goes on sale at the launch event this weekend, and will be available from the Shelter Scotland shop from then on; a full breakdown of this weekend's line-up can be found below.

Shelter Scotland & NEHH present… Home for the Holidays
Fri 16 & Sat 17 Dec, Summerhall, £20 weekend (£10 Fri/£15 Sat)

Fri 16 Dec
7.30pm - 8pm: Withered Hand
8.20pm - 8.50pm: Hans Klammer
9.10pm - 9.50pm: DTH PDL
10.10pm - 11pm: Broken Records
11pm - 1am: Lost Map / Kid Canaveral DJs

Sat 17 Dec
1.15pm - 1.45pm: eagleowl
1.50pm - 2.20pm: Richie Gallacher
2.25pm - 2.55pm: Wojtek The Bear
3pm - 3.30pm: Fuzzystar
3.40pm - 4.10pm: Kid Canaveral
4.20pm - 4.50pm: The Pictish Trail
5pm - 5.30pm: The Son(s)
5.40pm - 6.10pm: Wolf
6.20pm - 6.50pm: Savage Mansion
7pm - 7.30pm: Book Group
7.40pm - 8.10pm: ballboy
8.20pm - 8.50pm: Andrew Wasylyk
9pm - 9.30pm: The Spook School
9.40pm - 10.10pm: Tanat
10.20pm - 11pm: Meursault
11pm - 1am: Papi Falso Djs