Gothic Appalachian instrumentals
As trade descriptions go, Gwenifer Raymond’s takes some beating. “Guitar convincer. Banjo thumber. American primitive musician.”Intrigued? Then read on. Gweniferwas actually raised in South Wales –the ‘American primitive’ tag refers to the style she favours and which was most notablypopularised by John Fahey. Guitar and banjo are her favourite tools, on which she delivers vocal-free compositions that,drawingfrom early 20th-century Mississippi and Appalachia, investigate the spookier, more gothic corners of American roots traditions. The Guardian’s live reviewer Kitty Empire praised Gwenifer’s spellbinding, speedy playing (“like a vengeful bluegrass musician conjuring up roiling fury”), before making this oh-so-correct observation: “if anyone made bloody, dramatic Welsh westerns, her instrumentals would be the natural soundtrack”. Indeed, the title of Gwenifer’s latest album, Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain, is the perfect name for such a film.