Nia Morgan : Nia Morgan2009 : Patrin Records
I came across Nia Morgan through her song Ballad of the Woods on the recent Cae Gwyn compilation, Swooshed, and wanted immediately to hear more. This CD was recorded and produced by John Lawrence, who also plays a host of instruments, most notably perfectly judged pedal steel guitar on three of the tracks. Nia herself plays guitar, piano and harp. It was recorded at Lawrence's Snowdonia studio through 2008, and released in 2009.
Opening with the These Days They Burn, there is an elemental quality to the production, everything is distinct, and there is a lot of space for Nia's warmly emotive and plainly beautiful voice. Writing about this quality of music with everyday adjectives feels clumsy, like trying to communicate the recipe for the perfect souffle using only the medium of morris dance.
The middle three songs are particularly strong. Because the Light is absorbing, Poppies poignant and pointed about Remembrance, complete with lonely trumpet, Gan fy Mod i delicate and plaintive. There are four songs in all, of the ten, sung in Welsh and they seem even more rooted in place.
Too close to call has something of early Norah Jones, languidly unfolding in a late night.Then Hon and Bregus, from a Radio Cymru session, with just guitar, voice, and a hint of cello on Bregus, are exemplary, quiet but resonant folk.
The CD closes with Silent Times, Nia's harp and lovely voice, and again the space to hear them.
Why review this now? Well you'd hope Nia had more to come to follow Ballad of the Woods, but more importantly at the time of writing you can still buy this CD, and simply, whilst you can, you should.