STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 146516-21269 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In a music scene age when just about any singer/songwriter who eschews amplifiers in favour of acoustic instruments is described as "folk", Gareth is a marvel in that his music really has the feel of authenticity and his lyrics a winning way with colourful imagery which once marked a folk singer's approach. In fact one or two of Davies-Jones' compositions here, like the delicious mandolin-driven "Hundred Year Skin" or the haunting "Rua Reidh", sound like songs "in the tradition" which have been preserved down the decades because of their timeless quality. On 'Now But Not Yet' producers Sandy Jones, Graeme Duffin and Gareth himself have kept the accompaniments sparse and organic so whether it's a 12-string mandocello, whistle (played by Bronwen Davies-Jones) or piano (Sandy Jones) attention is never taken away from Gareth's welcomingly smooth and husky voice and poetic lyrics whether he's singing about the Lindisfarne Bible ("Down through the centuries, the ravages of time/These treasured pages, cannot erase"), war archaeology ("Fierce attack, position held/Digging up artillery shells/Historical belligerence/Still throwing up its evidence") and the tension of trying to find God in our modern world ("Deep in the ordinary/Lost in mundane/I looked for the sign/For the spark, for the flame"). Most singer/songwriters seem to make their best work with their second or third album. In Gareth's case I would suggest that this, his seventh album by my count, is his finest - a towering creative achievement. He may never make the cover of R2 magazine or headline the biggest folk festivals, but that's more to do with a left wing folk culture which wants tirades against capitalistic excess and songs suggesting riotous boozy nights rather than songs about the Great Jehovah. But then the world's glittering prizes are seldom handed out with fairness.
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