After a successful fan funding campaign, John MOuse releases his fifth album ‘Replica Figures' out throughKeep Me In Your Heart Records on the 19th of February 2018. For ‘Replica Figures’ John returns to work with original band member Sweet Baboo. It's been 15 years since the two worked under John's previous moniker JT Mouse and the result is a touching album with glimpses of John's black humour, which has been a signature throughout his career.
"We had talked about working together but other commitments had taken president. This is the type of album I have been wanting to release for some time.” Says John of his decision to work with Steve Baboo “ Steve understood straight away what I was trying to achieve and we worked really quickly on just letting the songs breath and be themselves. Nothing was over thought or overworked."
‘Replica Figures’ features Steve Black (Sweet Baboo) on piano and bass, former guitarist of early 90's indie band Hopper (who were signed to Tony Wilson), Paul Sheppard, and John's daughter Maggie Lola on backing vocals. The album circulates around the concept of memories, different memories, how they are created, the lack of memory, enforced and false memories...
"We wanted the album to have restrictions in place, a limited palette of instruments and sounds, and most importantly a vocal performance to capture emotion and the moment.” Says John about recording the album “We are so used to listening to perfect vocals and I wanted to create a snapshot, much like a memory."
‘Replica Figures’ is John’s first album since 2014’s greatly received long player ‘The Death of John MOuse’ that was praised by The Line of Best Fit and Louder than War websites and its brilliant lead single ‘I was a Goalkeeper’ which featured Gareth from Los Campesinos. John MOuse, real name John Davies, has been described as ‘A Welsh Beck,’ and ‘A Less Funny Half Man Half Biscuit'. Under his previous incarnation JT Mouse he worked with Sweet Baboo (aka Steven Black) while in 2010 he scored a cult hit with a song about a gay romance with another duet, this time with TV presenter Steve Jones lifted from the acclaimed album ‘Humber Dogger Forties’. Airplay support for John MOuse includes Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio, Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music and Adam Walton & Bethan Elfyn on BBC Radio Wales.
“The blend of unpredictability, wit and sharp reminiscence contained within is the real joy of this latest offering by this highly original artist a Welsh indie pop hero…reminiscent of a South Wales David Gedge” Louder Than War
“A Welsh Weezer… arty and not afraid of whopping melodies” The Line Of Best Fit
“An extraordinary piece of poetry.” Mary Anne Hobbs on ‘Robbie Savage’.
“There is only one John MOuse, a Welsh Superstar and an impassioned performer.” Tom Robinson
John MOuse shares lead single "Bunkbeds and broken" from his new album "Replica Figures" via Youtube.
The crowdfunded album which is officially released Feb 19th is a collaboration with Sweet Baboo, who produced and played on the album. It's the first time in 15 years that John has worked with Steven Black since they were in the band JT Mouse.
The album also features Paul Sheppard, former guitarist of 90's indie band Hopper who were signed to Tony Wilson's Factory Too records, and who's debut album was produced by Bernard Butler.
The Video is filmed entirely by John's daughter Maggie Lola Davies who also features on backing vocals on the album.
“I am immensely proud of this album; an album that I never thought I would record”, explains Bryn. “Like many parents who lose a child, it takes something exceptional to begin a normal life again – my longstanding friend John David gave me the song “Safe N Sound” and rekindled my desire to sing and record again”.
“Listen to ‘Safe N Sound’ it expresses all our wishes for a dear one who has passed”.
“I have gathered one of the most talented teams in South Wales to perform on and produce this album. It was recorded at Nick Brine’s Leeders Vale Studios – Nick is a young dynamic producer who already worked with Oasis, Thunder and Chapel Row after learning his craft at Rockfield Studios. Nick was assisted with ‘mixing and mastering’ by talented sound engineer Jon Constantine”.
“Adding an extra dimension to the vocals are the amazing Katy Dann and the Kidz R Us choir; they truly enrich this album”.
“I have recorded an album of songs to inspire, to lift your spirit, to reflect upon treasured memories of loved one”.
The Welsh Society of Oregon (WSOR) celebrates Christmas in song and story, bringing together Welsh vocal and instrumental music of the season along with a reading of the classic Welsh Christmas tale, "A Child's Christmas in Wales." Suggested donation is $10.
The musical program features the WSOR's own choir (directed by Dr. Jamie Webster) singing carols and other seasonal music old and new in Welsh and English. Joining them will be special guests Three Pound Note, Portland's only Welsh folk music band, an ensemble of pipes, fiddle, and other traditional instruments, and the delightful vocal harmonies of Andrea Wild and Hugo Glanville. To top the evening, and continuing a longstanding Portland tradition, Jonathan Nicholas will give a reading of Dylan Thomas’ much-loved Christmas tale.
The Welsh Society Choir draws on the rich traditions of choral singing in Wales, long known as “the land of song.” In addition to the very successful annual Christmas Concert, the choir also holds a Noson Lawen, a night of fun and singing, every June. They also occasionally sing at the Gymanfa Ganu (Welsh hymn singing festival) at Bryn Seion Welsh Church, and at other events during the year such as the Samhain Celtic New Year Festival in Salem. Dr. Jamie Lynn Webster also directs the Portland Revels’ ViVoce Women’s Ensemble and the Chautauqua Community Chorus.
Three Pound Note features two ex-pats from the UK, both of Welsh descent. Andrea Wild and Hugo Glanville have a broad and engaging repertoire of traditional folk music from their native homeland. The two have merged with uilleann piper and fiddler, Preston Howard and award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Zac Leger to blend vocal harmonies, bouzouki, guitar, fiddle, whistles and pipes using elements from Welsh, Breton and Cornish music traditions. They deliver the audience a rare opportunity to hear lively arrangements of Welsh folk music performed in the Welsh language.
Jonathan Nicholas is an author, journalist and avid storyteller, and is well-known for writing a column in The Oregonian for 25 years. He was born and raised in the valleys of south Wales “just up the road” from Swansea where Dylan Thomas as born
The Welsh Society of Oregon celebrates and perpetuates Welsh heritage, culture and music in Oregon and the Northwest. The WSOR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
AmeriCymru:Hi Dion and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about The Routines? How did you settle on the name?
Dion: Well, we are The Routines, a three piece from Caernarfon in North Wales. I play guitar and sing, we've got Jamie on Bass and Gethin on Drums and backing vocals. We grew up together through school but only started playing music together around 2014. We formed the band in 2015, playing locally while taking that time to write as many songs as possible. The name comes from the everyday lives of people around us. We all work 9-5 jobs and a lot of what we wrote revolve around the characters we see while following the daily routines of jobs.
AmeriCymru:Care to tell us something about your recent single releases?
Dion: We have just finished recording a set of 3 Welsh singles. The first of those is called 'di Arfar which translates to 'used to this'. A song about the mundanity of a 9-5 job, not really living. The song was released on all major digital stores and streaming services on the 31st October. The video for 'di Arfar can be found on our facebook page and on our youtube channel. We were able to use the factory that Geth works in to film the video, which, for us, was a nice touch. We also have released videos for two English songs via Youtube previously, 'Chrsitening' and ' Twice In A Blue Moon' which remain to be favourites in our live shows. Two more Welsh singles to be released in the coming months with a view to get back to the studio to record our first English album in 2018.]
AmeriCymru: You have played in the US before. Care to tell us something about your experiences?
Dion: Well between Feb 2014 and sometime in April 2015, I actually was living out in California. I was playing a lot of solo shows at that time in places like The Riptide and Neck Of The Woods in San Francisco as well as The Starry Plough in Berkeley. I met a lot of brilliant musicians out there such as Jeff Desira and Vessna Scheff who continue to release really interesting tunes. I also used to busk quite regularly around San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf meeting all kinds of weird and wonderful people. I played a few times down in LA and San Jose while out there. For a few months before heading back to Wales I lived in New York state too, playing on Caroline Street and at Cafe Lena in Saratoga Springs was a highlight. Although I would love to go back there and play a decent rock n roll show with The Routines as I know that town loves a loud, 100mph show, The amount of acoustic talent for a small town was unbelievable.
AmeriCymru: Any plans to revisit the US?
Dion: We all would love to go and play some The Routines shows out in the US and we've received an offer a while ago from a place in Big Sur, California, which is a place that reminded me a lot of Wales while I was out there if I'm honest, but unfortunately, we were unable to travel to fulfill that show at the time. We are most definitely open to play some US shows while I think working with a promoter out there for a tour sounds like something that would really work for us to be able to make that happen.
AmeriCymru:Where can people buy your music online?
AmeriCymru: Care to tell us a little about the Welsh language music scene in your part of Wales?
Dion: Well, to be honest we are quite new to the Welsh music scene really as we have only released one Welsh language tune to date. We are hearing a lot more Welsh bands than we knew we around so it seems to be having a resurgence while there are a lot of Welsh music festivals happening each year alongside the Eisteddfod and other various things.
AmeriCymru:What's next for Dion Jones and the Routines?
Dion: Gigs, Gigs and Gigs. We are currently working our b***s off behind the scenes booking as many shows for 2018 as possible. A couple more Welsh tunes on the way which are ready to go and hopefully we'll be able to record and finish our first album not too late in 2018.
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?
Dion: Keep your eyes on us for the coming months as a visit out there I feel is inevitable. I experienced the Welsh stuff you have out there and was extremely surprised at the amount of people who could also still speak Welsh. We feel you here at home. Iechyd Da.
A long-awaited new volume has been praised as a ‘masterpiece’ by Professor Deri Tomos.
The volume Flowers of Wales published this week by Y Lolfa is the life work of botanist Goronwy Wynne, a leading Biology lecturer and life long member of the British Botanic Society.
The book, which spans almost six hundred pages, covers all known Welsh plants in an ambitious hardback volume.
‘This volume is the fruit of a lifetime’s labour’ said Professor Deri Tomos, ‘As well as being a prestigious catalouger, Goronwy Wynne is one who is passionate about what is behind the romantic facade of nature.’
Twm Elias was also amazed by the book.
‘The book is presented in a compact, easy-to-understand style and is a pleasure to read. Goronwy is one of the best Welsh botanists, and is a great communicator and writer,’ he said, ‘We see the expert's authority at its very best here, in a volume that has clearly taken a lot of years of careful research and writing’.
This is the first Welsh volume to try to present the history of every single Welsh plant.
The volume discusses their names, distribution and habitats. The ecology of plants is cited – from the ordinary to the rare. The reader is given a tour of all of the old counties of Wales describing ten sites in each county, with their special features and flowers, and how to find them flowers and appreciate them.
After graduating in Agriculture and Botany at Bangor University, Goronwy Wynne taught at his old school at Holywell, then became Principal Lecturer in Biology at the North East Wales Institute. He received a doctorate degree from the University of Wales and Salford University and is a Fellow of Bangor University and the London Linear Society. He has been a cataloguer for the British and Irish Botanic Society for forty years and editor of Y Naturiaethwr for the Edward Llwyd Society for ten years. In 2014 he received the National Eisteddfod's Science Medal.
The book will be launched Friday 1 December at 7.30pm at Stamford Gate Hotel in Holywell with Ieuan ap Sion, Bethan Wyn Jones, Austin Savage and Goronwy Wynne.
Blodau Cymru – Byd y Planhigion by Goronwy Wynne (£39.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.