Galw : The voices lure me in
I have a profound weakness for archetypal folk duos - born too late to see Richard & Linda Thompson live I would trail round in the late 80s / early 90s more than compensated by Gregson & Collister gigs attended in some sort of reverie. This album, released February 2016 and recorded by Steve Blackstone is the debut of new Anglesey duo (they formed in 2014) Paul Williams (singer/songwriter) & Charli Lamont (singer).
Charli has a voice. She has toured Europe as a backing singer (for Kev Fox), and when she lets it soar it does stop you in your tracks. Paul can pen a tune. He can also play - his subtle guitar frames and supports Charli's singing beautifully throughout this eight song set. The only weakness is that Charli's strong, expressive vocals are just much more sonorous than Paul's still characterful singing - in places the contrast works really well, but (very) occasionally less so. That's the nit picked. To be frank I often thought exactly the same of Gregson & Collister.
The recording has a very live, unembellished feel; mellow acoustic music from a late night arts cafe.
The opener I Will Find You is a lovely simple acoustic song that showcases a disappointed, wistful vocal. The track that follows Caged Bird sees Charli's voice on a sublime glide upwards for the chorus, and when Paul joins her the two voices are really effective. Next Lonely Black Veil is the most uplifting track. Heno Ma is one of two songs in Welsh, Cofia Fi the other - both sung by Paul, with Charli's harmonies - both gentle, well written, atmospheric.
Old Soul is again a winning, understated song, but might have worked better with Charli taking the lead. Other Kings Fall Before Him is darker than the rest - slightly oppressive and claustrophobic in feel.
It closes with Keep Your Head Above Water - again presenting Charli to best effect - simple, slightly abstract, but emotional lyrics - and rolling waves of picked guitar melody.
This is a very good debut - in an intimate venue some of these songs could be magical.