Jangling acoustics and a heart – (and hearth!) warming brass arrangement head up this wonderful folk song by the intriguingly-named Courteous Thief.
This is a charming and wistful Christmas song that sneaks up with cold hands and a mug of warm toddy to let you know that you matter. There are references to snow falling, bells chiming, mistletoe and Christmas Eve easing their way through some iconic imagery to ensnare the ears.
The gentle vocals (reminiscent of Passenger’s Michael David Rosenberg) and lilting, drinking-song rhythm, along with the song’s arrangement, remind me of the oft-overlooked work of Stephen Fretwell. And that’s a huge compliment, as both of these artists are great writers and performers. As is evidenced by the fact that the song feels like it comes to an end far too soon…
The instrumental mid-section with a choir of male ‘oh’s and soloing trumpet is particularly festive in flavour. But the song also sports a genuinely dream-like and timeless quality throughout, which cleverly suggests that maybe the song is a lost classic that somehow slipped through the cracks of our collective memory. The hooky main melody (and the effortless harmony vocals that support it) along with the invigorating joie de vivre, drive the song into the ears with great assurance.
It’s been beautifully played and sung, has Mountains And Sea. If I had to criticise it (and I’m definitely not of a mind to), I feel the title doesn’t represent the content as helpfully as it could. But, it is a classy title, for an effortlessly classy masterclass in Christmas songwriting.