Phil Cunningham’s Christmas Songbook


Phil says – I always wanted to do a Christmas gig. In 2005, I got the chance. Musician friend and oft times promoter Stuart Nisbet came to me and asked if i’d be interested in doing a show for Edinburgh City Council’s Christmas programming. I was delighted. I called my pals to see if they would like to do it with me, we contacted some good brass players and then moved forward to create the event. I asked Stuart what we should call it, he pondered briefly and pronounced,”Phil Cunningham’s Christmas songbook”. And so the concept was born.


The gig was a great success, and when the council declined to have it the following year, I went to Adrian Harris of the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh and asked if he’d be interested in us doing it again. He couldn’t have been more enthusiastic and supportive, so, off we went again. This time it sold out so fast we had to do two nights. That was 10 years ago. It has grown to 5 nights a year at venues across Scotland.

The concept, for us, has now become a tradition. Every year, in December, we get together as pals and spend a few days, eating and drinking our favourite Christmas fayre, playing and singing our favourite Christmas songs and tunes, trying to put our own Scottish slant on them…. and we take the result to the road.

This gig is all about friends and Christmas, it’s our chance to spend time with each other at the end of a busy year and our chance to share that fun with you. Its very simple. It’s our staff dance.. our office party….. and you’re ALL invited!!

Merry Christmas! x


Phil Cunningham – Accordion, Piano, Whistle
Karen Matheson – Vocal
John McCusker – Fiddle, Whistle, Viola
Eddi Reader – Vocal, Ukelele
Kris Drever – Vocal, Guitar, Mandolin
Ian Carr – Guitar
Kevin McGuire – Double Bass

Songbook Brass Ensemble: (on tracks 1,2,4,7 and 8)

Ralph Brill – Cornet
Jonathan Clarke – Cornet
Jon Pippen – Euphonium
Owen Slade – Tuba
Nick Stones – Horn

Brass arrangements :

Sweet Bells by Ian Shepherd
In the Bleak Midwinter by Nick Stones/ Phil Cunningham

All other original brass arrangements by
Phil Cunningham and the Songbook Brass Ensemble
James Mackintosh – percussion on some tracks

Album recorded and mixed at
Traquair Mill Studio, Scotland
Engineered & mixed by Cameron Malcolm
Additional recording at Angel Studios, London
Engineered by Gary Thomas and Chris Parker
Produced by Phil Cunningham and John McCusker
Mastered by Calum Malcolm
Artwork by James [email protected]
Photography by Annie Tuite

Our heartfelt thanks to:

Jane Skinner, Annie Tuite, Alison Smith, Heidi Talbot, Cameron Malcolm, Calum Malcolm, Stuart Nisbet, Mike Poyser, Clive Miller, Andy Shearer and the Perth Concert Hall, Aberdeen Music Hall, Glasgow City Hall, Robert Rolston and Manfrini Accordions.

A special thanks to Adrian Harris and all at the Edinburgh Queens Hall for sticking by us!!


Santa Will Find You
Silent Night
Little Drummer Boy
In the Bleak Midwinter
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Chickadee’s Christmas/365 days till Christmas/A Tribute to Larry Reynolds
Away in a Manger
Sweet Bells
Waltz for Aly/Silver Bells
Tam The Gun/Wee Michael’s March/Ack Stirling’s March
The Holly & The Ivy/ The Sweetness of Mary
Lovely Molly Mae
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/ The Reel Beatrice
I Know the Reason
Winter Wonderland/Bluebell Polka
I am not fed up of the Pacific Ocean
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas / White Christmas