Most Christmas songs glamorise the commercialisation of the festive season but not Sam Fender’s new track. The musician has taken the opposite approach on ‘Winter Song’, an effort which is dripping in empathy and sees the South Shields singer-songwriter take on the issue of homelessness. He’s also put his money where his mouth is and all proceeds from the single will be going to The Big Issue.
‘Winter Song’ was written by the late Alan Hull and originally featured on Newcastle folk-rock band Lindisfarne’s debut album Nicely Out of Tune in 1970. It offers a poignant reminder that we need to do more for each other and how, especially in times of hardship, it is more important than ever to think about those worse off than us. Fender’s delivery is emotional as he sings from the heart, “Do you spare a thought for the homeless tramp, Who wishes he was dead, Or do you pull your bedclothes higher, Dream of summertime instead? When winter comes howling in.”
Fender’s reimagination of ‘Winter Song’ is bringing the words of Hull to a brand new generation and his tribute is simple yet utterly moving. He’s kept with the essence of the song and spread the word about one of the finest songwriter’s that has ever come from the same region as the 26-year-old, who is now carrying Hull’s baton.
“I wanted to do a Christmas song, but I didn’t want to do something that was crass and crap,” Fender told Radio X’s George Godfrey. “‘Winter Song’ is one of my favourite Christmas tunes and Alan Hall is one of my heroes so I just wanted to do something that was close to home and close to my heart and that’s why I picked it.
“If you listen to the song and the original track the lyrics are actually really poignant and relevant for the time. It’s basically a Christmas message of trying to be more empathetic about people who are worse off than you,” Fender added.
The track has been accompanied by a video that saw Fender collaborate with homelessness charity People Of The Streets and features photos taken by the homeless over the last three years. On the video, Fender added: “Homelessness is something that’s gotten terrible over the last 20 years in this country and people who are going to be hit the worst over these lockdowns are the people on the streets and the homeless.
“So we got together with People Of The Streets and I think it’s sort of the first time you get to see the perspective of homeless people. You hear stats and statistics and you see the figures and it’s horrible, but you don’t actually see the human side of it. When you watch the video it’s stunning and I was choking up the first time that I watched it. It’s human and it makes it a lot more personal and a lot more close to home”.
Check out the emotional video, below and pick yourself up a copy of Fender’s ‘Winter Song’ in the name of a good cause, if nothing else.