It may be a result of the vast, sprawling countryside, or it might be the Celtic mysticism of a nation that traditionally recounted legends and folk tales in ballads and song, but Wales has always had a thriving folk music scene dating back to the late 60's and the formation of the Sain record label (a subsidiary of which, Gwymon, is responsible for releasing this album). Tethered For The Storm is the second album by Welsh singer/songwriter Gareth Bonello, aka The Gentle Good, and its delicate, beautifully arranged songs deserve to reach a wider audience.

The decision to record a mixture of English and Welsh language songs, although maybe not the best move commercially, is a successful one artistically. For whilst the Welsh language can be a nightmare for the non-Cymry to pronounce or spell, it has a unique sound and rhythm that works beautifully in song. This is highlighted on 'Deuawd', sung by Bonello together with a female vocalist with no musical backing, instead allowing the harmony of the vocals to create its own music. Meanwhile 'Llosgi Pontydd' sees Bonello's gentle picking accompanied by some delicate strings to a haunting effect. It helps that Bonello is blessed with a sonorous voice that strongly recalls Mark Kozelek of the Red House Painters, to the extent that many of the English language tracks, barring a slight Welsh lilt to his voice, could have come from the Painters' Ocean Beach album. This is especially true of the brooding 'Pamela', one of the album highlights.

Tethered For The Storm wont appeal to everyone. Indeed, part of the appeal of singer/songwriters comes from the understanding of lyrics and enjoying the poetry of the author's words. However, in this case, the Welsh language tracks are so beguiling that it'd take a cold heart not to fall in love with them. Even more importantly with the mixture of language, the album works as a whole package, and one which deserves to be cherished.

Photobucket