Emily’s not worried about US

Emily Smith is at the Eastgate Theatre this month
Emily Smith is at the Eastgate Theatre this month

AMERICA – the list of British artists who have failed to be Stateside successes over the years could run from Scotland to New York.

For Emily Smith, the Dumfriesshire folk singer who kicks off her UK tour at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles later this month, making it big in cities such as the Big Apple is not among her top priorities.

Although the former Scots Trad Music Awards singer of the year winner has visited the country on numerous occasions, Emily made her first appearance in California for the KVMR Celtic Festival last weekend.

And she admits her whistlestop trip to North America – including Nova Scotia in Canada this weekend for the Celtic Colours Festival – is unlikely to lead to slots on Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien’s late night shows.

Emily told TheSouthern: “If you really want to try and break into America, you have to go there for months and months of the year. It is hard to make a dent over there and to be successful, especially with the current economic situation.

“This trip is a case of reminding people we are still around.”

With Emily being a well travelled musican – she has also clocked up air miles to Russian, Japan, New Zealand and Australia – it should not be a surprise that her well received fourth album, Traiveller’s Joy, is a collection of original and traditional songs written and gathered on the road.

And she is particularly pleased with the inclusion of a top American fiddler on her record.

“On the new album we have a few tracks with an American sound,” said Emily. “It is hard not to be influenced and inspired by their music.

“Stuart Duncan is from Nashville and is both mine and my husband Jamie’s (who also plays alongside Emily) favourite fiddler.

“We asked him to play on the album and you can definitely hear his style on a couple of the tracks.”

With a 17-date UK tour coming up, it has already been a busy 2011 for Emily.

Appearances on BBC Radio 2 and Radio Scotland were sandwiched between festival dates at Celtic Connections, Cambridge Folk and Tonder in Denmark, where Emily met a member of the Scandinavian country’s royalty.

She told us: “We launched the album at the start of the year at Celtic Connections which was great, and then we toured around the UK in February and March before taking in a lot of festivals.

“I am very comfortable playing gigs and you can try out some longer, slow songs, whereas at a festival it needs to be a punchy set because the audience are taking in a lot of music. I would not like to do one or other solely.

“Cambridge Folk Festival was great because it was my first appearance in the same year of releasing my latest album.

“At Tonder I got to open the event after being voted to do so by my fellow musicians, and I also got to meet Princess Marie. It was a great weekend.”

Emily Smith appears in Peebles on Thursday, October 20 (7.30pm start). Tickets are priced £14 and are available from 01721 725777.