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Album Reviews
Water & Light

When we heard Gareth Davies-Jones first cut, "Only For A Shortwhile" we marked him down as a singer/songwriter to keep an ear on. "Water & Light totally vindicates that opinion. Gareth continues to rise in stature as a wordsmith. His no compromise approach to getting his thoughts down on paper and out through his songs have been rewarded with one hell of an album.

"Water & Light" is everything that a good folk album should be. It's rich in people and places, politics and social justice. Just as important, it doesn't forget about the human condition and emotion. By doing that it manages to put a perspective on the songs. You can see how people are affected by interactions with other people and events.

"Shoreline Of Ghosts", for example, features the betrayal of the village communities in the North East. The old industries, coalmining allowed to fail for lack of investment, the trawlermen forced into ever declining quotas due to mismanagement by the government that let the coal industry fail. Yet money can be found to make those same villages part of the heritage trail and turn worker's cottages into holiday homes. The difference is that Davies-Jones puts it more elloquently in his verses.

As you might imagine with an album called "Water & Light", the coastline and sea feature quite extensively. "Princess Victoria" recalls the fateful night of the 31st of January 1953, when the car ferry/merchant ship of that name was lost in the Irish sea with the loss of over 100 lives. It wasn't an incident I was aware, but then it's frightening how quickly the Herald Of Free Enterprise has drifted away from the folk memory.

You might think it's going to be depressing album from the content, content that includes a biting comment on the government of fear. Far from it, Davies-Jones knows that if an album's not entertaining, you're never going to play it, no matter what it's trying to say. If you want to be heard you have to reach out to people with good songs and good tunes and it's here that he hits the mark.

"Water & Light" also reflects the human spirit, tribute is paid to those who put themselves out. People that walk sixteen miles to collect medicine for others, those that feel empashioned enough to act, not just complain. Those that live on hope alone will starve. Gareth Davies-Jones has brought the protest song into the twenty first century.

The lead track for "Water & Light", "Borderland" can be found on the Fatea Showcase Session:Songsmiths, available free from http://www.fatea-showcase-sessions.co.uk

FATEA RECORDS - http://www.fatea-records.co.uk/

From Northern Ireland, now based in Northumberland, Gareth Davies-Jones is currently one of the UK’s best-kept musical secrets. But not for much longer. With his third album, Water + Light, Gareth is poised for a breakthrough into the mainstream that will ensure his powerful songs and affecting performances are heard by more than just a handful of discerning listeners.

His best album yet (and Gareth raises that bar high), it’s a baker’s dozen of fine folk-tinged tracks featuring guests Kevin McGuire (Karine Polwart Band), Yvonne Lyon and fellow North East troubadour Jez Lowe. Eleven original songs, a splendidly moody instrumental that closes out the album, plus his rousing version of the traditional Black Velvet Band sit together as snugly as weary travellers at a pub fireside on a bracing day. Standout track on a consistently strong collection is the gripping narrative, Princess Victoria, a compelling tale of tragedy at sea.

PROPERGANDA MAGAZINE
Only For A Short While
Wow! I had never heard of Gareth Davies-Jones until I received this disc. After listening to this disc's politically commentary and unflinching critiques of those who would call themselves Christians without actually showing it, I now consider myself a fan. Think Derek Webb. Think Keith Green and Rich Mullins. Think T-Bone Burnett and Bill Mallonee. Vocally, Jones is more difficult to compare – at times every folk singer you've ever heard comes through, at others David Gray, Mark Knopfler, Chris Rice, and Derek Webb. "Hard Reality" serves as a summary for the entire album – Jones is bringing truth here, and forces the listener to face up to it, ignoring the uneasy feeling that comes along with brutal honesty. "Money Goes Round" poses questions about war, and its purpose, reminding us that "no one can serve two masters". "On the Face of It" probes us to look past initial appearances, and to make sure we have the real picture of things. Only for a Short While caught me completely off guard. I can only hope Gareth Davies-Jones achieves the same purpose with other listeners.
Brian A. Smith - The Phantom Tollbooth
The second full album by this singer/songwriter guitarist comprises 10 self-penned songs of undeniable quality. The protest element of Gareth's writing is in your face in such songs as "Money Goes Round", "Asylum" and "On The Face Of It", a song declaring that in our world today white is becoming black and vice-versa. His spirituality is evident in songs such as "Infinity", reflecting on creation. Voice and guitar sound have a great feel and this album will have the enduring quality of the listener finding something new in the songs on repeated listen. Gareth has quality support from other musicians and in the crisp production. Backing vocal support includes Yvonne Lyon (formerly Yvonne Whitty of the group Land). Gareth has been touring constantly since he went fulltime and deserves to break through to public consciousness in as strong a way as Martyn Joseph.
Alan Chesters – Cross Rhythms Magazine
Rating: 10/10

“WYLAM guitarist and composer Gareth Davies-Jones dedicates his musical talents to a very good cause – several of them, in fact. Gareth’s new CD, Only for a Short While, has just been released and its contents are designed to raise awareness of big issues. This is the fifth release for Gareth – a singer-songwriter in the Bob Dylan, protest song tradition. He tackles questions like climate change, the immoralities of the global economy and the hellish lives of asylum seekers. But his tunes are so melodic and his voice so lyrical that you never feel preached at. In Gareth’s song, Asylum, he mourns: “The state is blind and we’ve been cast, as a brand new form of underclass...” In Upside Down, he warns: “Show them love not retribution. Start a revolution...” The lyrics are intense and the aims worthy, but this is an album you could relax to in the small hours, soothed by the mellow vocal tones and letting the smooth guitar riffs roll over you. Gareth, who lives at Hagg Bank, plays and sings all over the UK as part of the FairTrade Music organisation, set up to give musicians of all nations a fair deal. He also works with Christian Aid and Traidcraft. Locally, Gareth is a regular performer at the Acoustic Cafe in Stocksfield, and is due to appear at Brampton on July 23, and in Allendale on November 18. Gareth’s album Only for a Short While is available from www.headingwestmusic.com/shop/"
Hexham Courant

"This Northumberland based singer-songwriter has been earning his bread and butter in the music business for 3 years. The songs on “Only for a short While” are brought in an almost exuberant expressive way. 45 minutes of acoustic music a la Martyn Joseph. Personally the religious line of approach/ thought which Gareth Davies Jones uses, does not disturb me. I do think it is a shame that a shareware database like Gracenote (which Apple, amongst others, uses) adds automatically and without asking the label “Gospel & Religious”. (Try backing out of such a devilish corner!) The songs are tested and evaluated within the live circuit, and therefore have been found strong enough to entrust to the eternity of the silver disc. Gareth has my blessing and the 10 songs filled me with great pleasure. The instrumentation is very well cared for/ provided for and Gareth received bass input from Kevin McGuire (Karine Polwart's band) and backing vocals from Yvonne Lyon. “Hard Reality” with slight Nick Drake tendencies, is really a very beautiful song."
Rein van den Berg - Real Roots Café
(Translated by Jikke Drummond-Smith)
"Rooted in the folk/acoustic tradition, Gareth Davies-Jones is a singer songwriter and guitarist who’s previous work I’ve had the pleasure to hear. Since turning professional 3 years ago he has been gigging his way around the UK and Ireland, building a reputation as a strong live performer and a perceptive songwriter. He says that this new album deals with the “travails of life, the things that can affect us all regardless of our standing”. Staying true to his live sound, Gareth’s songs are accompanied by simple, stripped down sounds. “Money Goes Round” starts things off, with a look at universal wealth and poverty. “Hard Reality” sounds good with it’s guitar and keyboard backing, while the first really catchy number comes with “Asylum”. Here, Gareth looks at the growing problem of asylum seekers all over the world. Gareth plays the sort of music that would go sdown best in an intimate setting. It’s the type of thing that Martyn Joseph has been doing so well over the year’s, and now, here’s someone of quality to rival his talents."
NFN - June 2006
"'Only For A Short While' is the new album from Gareth Davies-Jones - A Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist with a Welsh name who hails from Northern Ireland via Newcastle and Northumberland! His inspiration from past experiences and global matters come together to create a well-crafted and produced acoustic album. The opening track, 'Money Goes Round' gets the album off to a great start with its catchy chorus and strong harmonies. Accompanying Gareth is a strong group of musicians, including Kevin McGuire, whose double-bass provides a steady foundation on every song. I have seen Kevin with the Scottish band, The Felsons, fronted by Dean Owens, and Gareth's voice is quite reminiscent of Dean's - especially with the occasional hint of vibrato. The accordion (played by David Lyon) also makes an appearance on 'Upside Down' and although there is a serious message within the song, the accordion gives it a brighter edge with yet another memorable chorus. Issues that are close to Gareth's heart, such as fair-trade are reflected in the tracks, 'Hard Reality', 'Asylum' and 'Rising', which includes the thoughtful line, "thousands of voices, never a sound". He himself has said, writing and performing music is a way of bringing to attention these kinds of problems that are in the world today. Gareth is due to tour the UK later this year for a second, 'Fair-Trade' tour following on from the success of last year's. It was on this tour that I first heard several of the songs that have now made it onto the album, including a personal favourite, 'Reflections'. And as an added bonus, I'd left the CD running after hearing the last song and I discovered an extra track! A beautiful guitar instrumental, which shows that not only is Gareth a talented songwriter, but guitarist too.
Hannah Tobin - Covfolk Online - June 2006
Zijn producer ken ik al heel lang. Graeme Duffin. Hij speelde op prachtige albums van Steve Butler (Waving And Drowning uit 1983) en Ricky Ross (So Long Ago uit 1984). Ross zou niet lang daarna het fantastische Deacon Blue oprichten terwijl Butler eind jaren tachtig begon met Lies Damned Lies. En Duffin? Die verwierf wereldfaam met Wet Wet Wet. Schotland dus. Davies-Jones omschrijft zich als 6 feet tall with a Welsh name, Irish ancestry, Geordie kids and wife from Yorkshire. Ook als het om zijn muziek gaat is hij to the point: I’m a singer-songwriter in the acoustic sense of the term. Hij noemt Martyn Joseph, John Martin en John Renbourne (vooral als gitarist waarschijnlijk) als grote invloeden. De eerste en de laatste zijn duidelijk terug te horen. Na een EP in 2003 is Only For A Short While zijn debuut. Op zijn eigen Heading West Music nog wel. Net als voornoemde Joseph, is Gareth Davies-Jones overduidelijk een bewogen en bevlogen christenmens. Op zijn gitaar had, bijna analoog aan Woody Guthrie, this machine kills sin kunnen staan. Dat het er niet staat tekent zijn prettige bescheidenheid. Zo klinkt dit album even urgent en opstandig als bedachtzaam. Duffin (en ik wil pas gezeur over Wet Wet Wet horen als u bovengenoemde platen in huis hebt, ok?!) geeft Davies-Jones een helder geluid waarin de akoestische gitaar en stem van deze singer-songwriter centraal staan. Er is een liedje over vluchtelingen zoals Asylum.

My dignity is turned to shame
Feel like a number not a name
Give me something for the pain
This asylum – just a sick and arbitrary game

Rising gaat over de Dalit, die Indiase kastelozen die worden gediscrimineerd na de hulpverlening vanwege de Tsunami. Only For A Short While (deze titel is afkomstig uit het prachtige Infinity dat dit album besluit) ontleent haar kracht aan deze scherpe opmerkingsgave. Het vermogen en de durf om achter het zwakke en weerloze te gaan staan. In die zin is de ‘sin’ die op zijn gitaar had kunnen staan in wezen niet de ‘sin’ van de klassieke dominees en priesters. Het is letterlijk het verkeerd handelen. Niet werkelijk van mensen houden. Het Partijprogramma het Hoogste Woord geven. We zullen er binnenkort bij de bespreking van de nieuwe Bruce Cockburn (ongetwijfeld ook een voorbeeld voor Davies-Jones) nog op terugkomen. Het waarlijk grote van zijn voorbeelden kleeft Gareth Davies-Jones nog niet aan, hun talent heeft hij zeker. Zijn gitaarspel is uitstekend (mooie ronde tonen elke keer weer) en ook zijn liedjes mogen er zijn. Maar misschien wel het meest aantrekkelijk aan dit album is het introverte karakter. Ook de eigen boezem blijkt een sneeuwwitte hand te kunnen bevatten.
Wim Boluijt - Hanx.net - July 2006

Faith, Folk & Fair Trade
“Passion and complete frankness jumps off this disc and punches the listener right in the solar plexus! These four simple songs will do what most worship music isn’t able to do, move one into action. Carrying the torch that Chris Martin of Coldplay has lit trying to make trade fair between Industrialized and Under Developed nations is Gareth Davies-Jones. This EP focuses on the suffering that ravaged third world Nations deal with daily. While government and big business does nothing to help and unfortunately quite often they are the perpetrators of the crimes. The aim of these songs is to let the church know that adults as well as children, our brothers and sisters in Christ are dying. We cannot remain passive we have to do something. To get a feel for what Gareth offers to us I will share a line from the heart gripping “Greed For Gain” it goes “what would Jesus do – someone said to me/what would Jesus do/well I don’t know (exactly)/but I know He’d do something/so why don’t you?” This album is more of an experience, this is not something that you would listen to casually. To get the full effect of what Gareth has created you will want to focus on the lyrics, internalize them. Too often Christian social justice is overlooked, thank you Gareth for being one crying out in the wilderness, too many of us myself included would rather be tanning by the pool.”
Phantom Tollbooth - Aaron Anderson 23/10/2005 http://www.tollbooth.org/2005/reviews/dgj.html
“This EP features four songs which each touch on poor people's struggle for dignity in a world where the rules are stacked against them - a problem the world is increasingly in tune with in this year of the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign and Live 8. Gareth, who has the knack of writing in Martyn Joseph style, has a very listenable voice and the simple instrumentation is well recorded. Indeed, the acoustic guitar sound is some of the best I've heard for a long time. "Greed For Gain" says " I Work all day for a very low wage…it's time to make a better deal". If you listen to the words, Gareth brings home the message of just what Fair Trade is all about. "Love thy Neighbour" is the message contained in "These Days" and the overall feel of the CD is very intimate. Close your eyes and you can almost imagine Gareth performing the songs just for you. Overall, the well crafted lyrics weave and connect well with the simple acoustic backing.”
Geoff Howlett – NFN October 2005
http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/square/ea46/nfn.htm#ccm
“This is a four song EP. The songs reflect the Christian faith of the artist and a promotion of ethical trading, having said that it's more 'matter of fact' than preaching in tone. Generally in a folk style with well played acoustic, occasional keyboards and percussion, Gareth has a pleasantly listenable singing voice like a less irritating version of David Gray. The songs are not the strongest, opener 'Stand In' probably the most impressive of the four, with some particularly fine guitar playing. The first three songs are new, the final offering 'Street' is taken from the album 'A Play Upon The Conscience', and is a bit of a lighter waver with singalong tendencies, though it also has hints of soul to it, if Sir Cliff needs a new writer he could do a lot worse!”
Americana UK – October 2005
http://www.americana-uk.com/html/reviews.html
A Play Upon The Conscience
“You might think by the title that there’s something more to this singer songwriter than just putting together an album of songs for the sake of it. Gareth takes the gritty writing style of Martyn Joseph, the simple smoothness of Fernando Ortega’s sound, and the commercial substance of David Gray, to come up with an album that could just be different enough to make it big. The lyrics delve into your conscience and ask those questions that we sometimes avoid. Are we really building our house on solid rock, or is slowly sinking in the sand? Listen, as “Out of Hand”, an acoustic blues number, asks that very question. Do you really put others first? “Take A Back Seat” cleverly twists and turns lyrically to pose another. Musically, Gareth leads the way with his acoustic guitar but is complimented well by his co-musicians and vocalists. “Solitude” flows effortlessly all over you and wraps you in a cocoon of God’s love, while the haunting sound of “Heavenfield” explores the personal battle that we all go through, especially times of denial. Take time to listen to this album and you’ll find a lot more than just a talented musician. This is a gift for all. 9/10.”
Geoff Howlett - NFN October 2004
“The first time I heard “Madrid” played on Mike Rimmer’s Rimmerama radio programme when Gareth came to Cross Rhythms Villas to do TV and radio interviews I knew this English singer/songwriter with the implausibly Welsh name was something special. “Madrid” is quite simply one of the best songs borne out of a tragic world event you’ll ever hear – a haunting, beautifully sparse contemplation on the recent terrorist bombing which then moves seamlessly to the cross and the heart of stone sometimes evident in all of us. Wisely, that classic is recorded with just Gareth’s beautifully picked acoustic. There’s much else on ‘A Play Upon The Conscience’ to demonstrate the depth of Gareth’s songwriting craft – a concise look at a culture which both bombards us with images of perfect looking people (“Radical”); the 21st century lie that truth is what we make it (“Out Of Hand”), and the closer, Gareth’s lovely new melody to the classic hymn “My Song Is Love Unknown”. With excellent production and sleeve design this is as impressive an album debut you’re likely to find this or any year. Rating: 9/10”
Tony Cummings, Editor – Cross Rhythms Magazine
“Gareth Davies-Jones sent me a copy of his debut album “A Play Upon The Conscience” last week. In just days he has quickly blasted from complete obscurity, so far as I was concerned, to being within easy reach of my mitts for repeat playing. Gareth's style may be acoustic/folk but as a description this doesn't really do justice to the breadth of appeal that this guy's music should have. After all would you call yourself a folkie? Probably not. Do you like your instruments natural or 'electronically amplified'? Rock fans aside you may not have even thought about it. But do you know that you like accomplished playing, thought provoking, EVEN DECIPH-ERABLE, Christian lyrics that are sung well? You probably do. In my book Gareth is right up there with the likes of Paul Field, and Don Francisco, for putting together a story and a tune and themselves delivering it brilliantly. Unless the record companies are deaf to good music, so don't sign him, you will be hearing a lot more of Gareth Davies-Jones in the years to come.”
www.christianevent.info

GIG Reviews
Review for CR Magazine by Tom Lennie
The Lot, Edinburgh, Sunday 18th February 2007

Tucked away at the foot of Edinburgh's lofty Castle, in the Grassmarket area, sits The Lot, a cosy little cafe/bar, which former church hosted, on Sunday 18th February, the final gig in the four-date Scottish winter-tour of two increasingly noticed musicians, Gareth Davies-Jones and Yvonne Lyon. Gareth has something of a cross-identity, for, despite his Welsh name, he was born and raised in Northern Ireland (hence his accent), but now lives in north England, from where he journeyed to make his voice heard north of the border. The decision to tour together was a wise one, for the two artists complement each other wonderfully, both in song-content and style, each accompanying the other on acoustic guitar/percussion and backing vocals, as they perform their self-penned songs in a loosely alternate basis. Enhancing these sounds on keyboards, accordion and guitar is Yvonne's hubbie, David Lyon, himself a noted musician, producer and worship leader, with several recordings to his name.

Gareth kicked off the set with "Money Goes Round", a lyrically hard-hitting song denouncing the multi-defects of the global economy. This he followed with "Butterfly", a song inspired by seeing a butterfly trapped on the London Underground when engaged on a recent March arranged by Christian Aid to protest against the Government's involvement with the IMF. "We take their money and we give them debt/And we promise them things they haven't had yet." Clearly Gareth isn't afraid to tackle difficult topics of world affairs in his music, be they political, economic or social. In the latter category, came "Breathe", a song about woman-abuse, inspired by a documentary on life in a women's shelter in London, which Gareth completed in the aftermath of the prostitute murders in Ipswich in the autumn of 2006.

The troubadour's more personal and spiritual side was expressed in a couple of songs with a water connection, such as "Reflections" ("I went down by the river to watch it run it's course. . ./Perhaps we're like the river, running from its source"). Back to a global vision, "Upside Down" is a potent declaration of how, if we take Jesus' teaching fully to heart, we can, through the power of his love, turn the world upside down.

Yvonne has striking, clear vocals which carry well. Both she and Gareth seemed relaxed, despite - or perhaps because of, the proximity of the audience - and both, too, have warm, friendly personalities, apparent as they shared personal anecdotes during the course of the evening. Like Gareth, many of Yvonne's songs also reveal, through a variety of circumstances, the power of love. "Mariana" came about through meeting a woman in Romania, who, despite the hardships of her life, showed a determination to press on, and her face glowed with serenity and joy. On the same theme, "Love" carries a rich, poetic portrayal of what that word truly signifies, and, being a track from "Fearless", was recently used as a first waltz at a friend's wedding. Two of Yvonne's most touching songs were "Everything's Fine", encouraging us to recognise unsuspecting angels in the face of life's adversities, and "Come", a beautiful invitation to unload our burdens on he who alone can give rest and peace.

Both musicians seek to reach out to secular as well as Christian audiences; thus, while there's an obvious spiritual quality to many of their non-cliched songs, such message came over in a subtle and non-provocative manner. Both Yvonne and Gareth are, of course, well known to Cross Rhythms, and each of their latest recordings ('Fearless' [2005] and 'Only For A Short While' [2006], respectively) were awarded a full 10 squares.

Just to show there's a lighter side to their music, one or two fun songs were delivered, such as "Once Upon A Squish", composed by two kids, both named Dylan, during an Arts Therapy course led by Yvonne at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow ('The Yorkhill Sessions' is the resulting charity recording).

The song "Down In The River To Pray" from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou drew the set to a close with extended, heart-felt applause for a delightful evening's entertainment, which was also a fitting showcase for some highly creative and thought-provoking output from two of the UK's finest singer/songwriters.

Striking A Chord For Justice
The Arts Cafe, Maidenhead - 2nd June 2006

HARD-hitting, conscience-pricking lyrics about fair trade,justice and Christianity were the order of the day as a roaming singer songwriter bought his guitars to town, writes Antony Quarrell.

Gareth Davies-Jones performed acoustic numbers from his new album Only for a Short While at Maidenhead's intimate candlelit venue, The Arts Café, which is attached to the Methodist Church in the High Street, on Friday.

Gareth, who set up his own recording company Heading West Music in 2004 after being made redundant, is currently undertaking a national tour and Friday was the first time he played Maidenhead. Performing songs of sometimes stark and brutal frankness, described by one critic as punching the listener "right in the solar plexus", the tall, lean, Irishman did not mince his words. Songs such as Money Goes Round and Greed For Gain echoed his involvement and passion for the FairTrade movement. Asylum dealt with the ever controversial issue from the perspective of an asylum seeker, while Hard Reality was a soul searching examination on our own mortality.
There were also moments of tenderness and spiritual introspection with songs such as Reflections and Older. Meanwhile the song Infinity, said to have been inspired by Gareth spotting an orbiting satellite while stargazing on a cold winter's night with his young son, examined the smallness of man's achievements when set against the backdrop of infinity and God's creation. The songs were interspersed with Gareth talking about his believes and thoughts, laced with examples of his laconic wit.
Explaining his Fair Trade minded lyrics Gareth told the Express:"It's basically a less dry way of introducing people to the whole issue - people can think it has nothing to do with them."

Gareth said that people are usually supportive of the Fair Trade issue when they encounter it, and he is involved with a new initiative,Fair Trade Music,which aims to give musicians across the world a fair deal as well as raising awareness of Fair Trade as an issue.

Greenbelt 2005
Christian Aid Venue: 3.30pm Sat 27th August 2005

Aid has never seemed more colourful. The tables have a montage of multi-coloured leaflets, the Surefish Bowl Café is doing a roaring trade, Christian Aid's Digging Deep: Getting To The Roots Of Poverty posters seem to adorn every surface and the tent is packed with chattering people.

Possibly not the likeliest place to hear an acoustic singer/songwriter but Gareth Davies Jones is a fully fledged have-guitar-will-travel journeyman and with his involvement with Fair Trade causes has taken to the challenge like the proverbial water-approaching duck. Songs of faith ("The further I go the more I'm convinced/Someone stood in for me") and justice ("Pay off the debt that's around our necks") ring out.

My attention wanders a bit due to a group at a table consisting of a Franciscan friar, a husband, wife and children who talk very loudly through Gareth's songs. But finally they leave and Gareth's "Reflections", as peaceful and tranquil as its title, draws me in even if the babble of noise around my table means I miss some of Gareth's poetic lyrics. Gareth tries a sing-along and soon James Taylor's "You've Got A Friend" has at least some of the chatterers singing.

And so the tremendous set continues with the truly haunting melody "If I Was Jesus" with its cutting lyrics and "Streets" with its painful images of street children. The final song, a haunting "what's it all about," is a beautiful low key closer. Great set, shame about the audience.
Tony Cummings, Editor, Cross Rhythms Magazine

FOLK MIXES WITH FAITH AND FAIR TRADE
Acoustic Cafe: Friday 21st Jan 2005

FRIDAY’S Faith, Folk and Fairtrade concert at the Acoustic Cafe delivered what it promised – faith, folk and fair trade produce in a warm cafe style atmosphere in Stocksfield.

With all the profits of the event going to charity, the turnout of around 80 people was very encouraging. The opening set by Riding Mill’s Pete Ryder was both quirky and amusing and provided much food for thought. The audience responded well to a real wordsmith covering topics as diverse as the A68, Beatrix Potter’s gun, and the ever present threat of the weather.

The second set was an assured and accomplished performance by local singer-songwriter Gareth Davies-Jones, whose strong vocal skills showed off to good effect, not least during his haunting a cappella performance of the Irish traditional Curragh of Kildare.
There can be few young men on the local folk scene who can hold their audience so well as Gareth whose Celtic roots and lilting Irish accent give authenticity to his faith-based folk music offerings. Gareth played several tunes from his latest album A Play Upon The Conscience. The title of the album is derived from a line in his song Street, a harrowing, but ultimately hopeful account of the life of one of the street children of South America.
He also managed to weave in hits from James Taylor (with whom Gareth is sometimes compared) and Bill Withers, which the audience appreciated greatly. One to watch out for - catch a local gig if you can. The Acoustic Cafe next opens it doors on Friday May 6 - hope to see you there.
Hexham Courant: Published on Friday, January 28th 2005




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A Play Upon The Conscience - The great new album from Gareth Davies-Jones - Out July 1st