Mim Twm Llai, |
Straeon y Cymdogion
Mim Twm Llai is the alter ego of Gai Toms, guitarist for the Welsh band Anweledig. On this, his second CD for the Caernarfon label Crai, the North-Wales based singer-songwriter straddles the line between folk and pop in the manner of the legendary Welsh folksinger Meic Stevens.
Like Stevens, Toms puts a lot of himself and his home and surroundings into his music, thus the CD title, which translates as "Stories of the Neighbours." Also like Stevens, his music is rough-edged, but catchy, with repetitive hooks that get you singing along.
His repertoire has some variety to it. On tunes such as "O lle ga i eda (where can I get some thread)," he sounds like a singer in need of some patching up. Toms also shows he can carry a nice ballad on "Cymorthin." The Stevens influence is evident on the rhythmic "Arwain i'r mor (leading to the sea)," one of the best and most hummable tracks.
Toms gets a nice hand from his friends as well. Lending a hand on lead vocals on the lullaby "Si Hei Lwli Sali" is Elaine Gelling. The multi-talented Sian James does a nice job backing Toms on "Y Pen Blywydd (the birthday)" on piano.
Toms himself picks up a number of instruments on this worthwhile CD, including percussion, guitar, keyboards, banjo, harmonica and drums, and that's just on the title track. And he writes all the Welsh-language lyrics and the music, as well.
by David Cox