Sun 28 Apr, The Hours Cafe and Bookshop, Brecon
Mon 29 Apr, Glee Club, Cardiff Bay
Tues 30 Apr, Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan
words: Laura Boyd
Pwllhei-born Al Lewis became well-known around Wales in 2007 following his involvement in the Song For Wales competition and his later success as Café Nero’s Artist Of The Year. Now, with his new album Battles, he returns to South Wales.
When catching up with Lewis before his first gig back in Cardiff in Mar, he described his sound as “late sixties to early seventies influenced by acts such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen.” The new album however has interestingly forward-thinking and inviting melodies which the songwriter claims were inspired by the success of fellow artist Bon Iver who “proved that acoustic music doesn’t need to be over-produced to gain popularity and a wide audience.” Battles certainly proves this point with its mix of bright and catchy songs such as new single Make A little time and the more stripped-down, folk-influenced title track Battles, which Al claims to be the best indicator of his style and artistic tone from all songs on the record.
Whilst gaining success all over the UK, it is Wales that Lewis claims shaped him as a musician, and although the new album is exclusively in English, his bilingual musical roots will always be important to him for discovering his fan-base and offering up future opportunities. In March he’s joined by The Gentle Good. Lewis and The Gentle Good have played together before at festivals around the country, and Lewis enthuses about playing with him again in “a nice warm venue with a nice and enthusiastic audience to spend the night with.” This intimacy is key to Al’s acoustic sound, and whether playing solo or with a complete live band, he’s proved himself a versatile musician. These venues will no doubt deliver on this intimacy for fans to really appreciate his talent.