Lowri Evans & Lee Mason – A Little Bit of Everything
(Review by Stephen Nottingham)
Singer-songwriter Lowri Evans and guitarist Lee Mason have been performing and recording together for ten years. To mark this occasion, they are releasing a ‘live’ album on their own Shimi Records label. It features songs from Lowri’s debut Welsh-language album ‘Clyw Sibrydion’ (2006) through to last year’s ‘Everyone is from somewhere else’ (2016), six albums and four EPs later.
Whereas the studio albums feature an impressive roster of musicians, here the material is presented just as the two would perform it on stage: “No extra musicians, gimmicks or overdubs.” For the first time, musical partner Lee is given equal billing on an album, which showcases his sympathetic guitar playing and subtle harmonies. The pared down approach highlights the strength of Lowri’s songwriting and her clear soulful voice. The title alludes to the range of influences, including folk, country and blues, which makes for a varied bilingual set of songs. The album provides a career retrospective treat for fans and a great introduction to newcomers yet to discover this sublime music.
The set comprises two tracks from the debut album, a couple from ‘One way ticket’ (2009), three from ‘Corner of my eye’ (2013) and three from last year’s album, plus a brace of covers: Meic Steven’s reflective ‘Cân Walter’ and the bluesy Jimmy Cox classic ‘Nobody knows you when you’re down and out’. The record concludes with ‘Merch y myny’, the opening track of the first record Lowri and Lee recorded together, and a song played as an encore the last time this reviewer saw them live; it’s about life in their hometown of Newport, Pembrokeshire.
Lowri Evans and Lee Mason will be touring to promote this ‘best of’ album, startingin Dolgellau on 12 May 2017 and ending in St Meilyr’s Church, Llys-y-Fran on 22 July; with other Welsh dates including Acapela, Pentyrch (2 July), St David’s Music and Arts Festival (14 July) and the Folk on the Farm Festival in Anglesey (16 July).
With the pair already working on an album of new material, which Lowri hints might be “a bit more jazzy”, we look forward to the next ten years of life-affirming music from Lowri Evans and Lee Mason.