New concerts showcase the best singer-songwriters in the south of Wales
The first of two music concerts showcasing south Welsh song writing talent is set to take to the stage this week at Pontardawe Arts Centre.
“South Wales Singer-Songwriters” is a concept curated and promoted by Jim Rees, a musician who worked as a sound engineer and stage manager for the Pontardawe Folk Festival for over twenty years.
On Friday 18 March, three female singer-songwriters will play a joint concert at Pontardawe Arts Centre, with performances from Carly Tucker, Melody Shaddick and Nel Jenkins.
This will be followed on 31 March by the second event, featuring three male singer-songwriters, Andy Tamlyn Jones, John Davies and Ron Savory.
Promoter Jim Rees says “The format of the concerts follows the popular BBC4 series ‘Songwriters Circle’ which featured stars such as Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega and Lowden Wainwright III. The three performers sit together on stage, and take turns to introduce a song and play through it.
“This South Wales version brings local song-writing talent to the theatre stage, providing an opportunity to engage with grass-roots music. There is a really vibrant scene at the moment, especially around Swansea.”
Speaking about the event to Mike Kennedy on Welsh Connections, Jim explained the background to the event.
He said: “I came across most of these musicians was through an online open mic session. The participants would play a song each. Because there’s a slight time delay with zoom couldn’t really play together, but it worked in that format for them to take a little slot each
“That would happen every Thursday evening, and it became the highlight of my week because I wasn’t really seeing many people.
“I saw a lot of music that I wouldn’t have had access to before. I might not have perhaps gone to the places where people were performing, so I saw music that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.”
Coming out of lockdown he decided that he would like to set up an event in a theatre with performers on the stage at same time and approached Pontardawe Arts Centre.
He looked for performers who would stand out as individuals yet also complement each other to make a good show.
“Carly Tucker and Nell Jenkins are quite different. Carly is a very melodic singer, a fantastic rich voice charming song.
“Melody has got the energy of a thousand singers – I’ve seen her really rock a room, with very powerful lyrics and a soaring vocal – the room goes quiet whenever she sings.
“Andy Tamlyn Jones is a real folky with very heartfelt songs. He’s a bit of a historian as well, so it’s going to be interesting to hear the chat between songs to give us a better understanding of what’s going on in those songs.
“Then, we’ve got John Davis. who is a very versatile player. He’s a great musician, sometimes he’s folky sometimes he’s bluesy, great voice again, and very magnetic.
“And then we’ve got Ron Savory, who is a very clever songwriter his use of words and themes and subjects it’s very good. It’s very interesting and different. And again, you can see his character through them.”
Tickets can be purchased online at Pontardawe Arts Centre or from the box office on 01792 863722.
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